Police launch Leeds street drinking crackdown - in seven languages

Insp Mark Wheeler
Insp Mark Wheeler
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A POLICE crackdown on street drinking in a city suburb is taking place in seven languages.

Officers are launching a new poster and leaflet campaign in Slovak, Czech, Polish and other tongues, as well as English – and are even drafting in a Polish-speaking colleague – to help cope with the ongoing scourge.

Street drinking was banned in the Armley area of Leeds two years ago – one of 20 currently operating in the city – but the problem has escalated.

Armley is now home to a growing number of people from Eastern European countries and police believe that many of them might simply not understand the regulations.

They also want to ensure that people who are flouting the alcohol control order cannot plead ignorance because of the language barrier. Inspector Mark Wheeler, who is the senior neighbourhood officer for Armley, told a community meeting this week that reports of street drinking in Town Street had been “on the increase due to Eastern Europeans coming and not fully understanding the regulations”.

The posters, to be put up in shops across the town, will feature warnings in Czech, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian and Slovak, as well as English.

Insp Wheeler added: “While those involved in street drinking in the area are not confined to any one specific community, we are aware that a proportion of those involved are from Eastern European countries.

“We need people to understand the restrictions without language being a barrier.

“The leaflets and posters will mean that when officers encounter people from these communities who are in breach of the order they won’t be able to claim ignorance of the law as an excuse.”

Off-licence worker Rashid Ali, from Armley Convenience Store, said the multi-lingual measures were a “good idea” and agreed the street drinking problem – one he regularly witnesses – was a cross-nationality one in the area.