Street alcohol ban a success in area blighted by drunken yobs

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A BAN on street drinking in an area once plagued by alcohol-fuelled yobs has been hailed as a success, after bringing about a “significant” reduction in crime.

After an application by South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Council’s licensing board decided to implement a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) in the neighbourhood of Shiregreen in April last year.

That order, which bans on-street drinking and gives police extra power to deal with those found drunk in public spaces, came into effect on June 1.

The results of a six-month review of the impact of that order have now been published, with most people polled being in full support.

As a result, members of the licensing board are set to consider maintaining the DPPO at a meeting to be held at Sheffield Town Hall on Tuesday, February 7.

Papers set to go before that meeting reveal that, between June 7, 2011, and January 18, 2012, 569 “anti-social incidents” were reported in Shiregreen.  

The report says: “Of these incidents only 19 are said to be alcohol-related.  

“This is a particularly low figure considering we have just passed through the festive period, notorious for being a time associated with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

“If you compare this with the results we obtained during the initial DPPO consultation, there has been a significant reduction.”

By contrast, there were almost 1,200 incidents of anti-social behaviour recorded in Shiregreen in the 12 months to December 2010, with many involving people who were “in drink.”

A questionnaire has also been sent out to people in the area which, so far, has had 207 respondents.

“From the 207, 170 people knew there was a DPPO in place”, the licensing board report says.  

“From the 170 that knew the DPPO was in place, 90 per cent felt that it was making a positive impact on reducing alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour”

Peter Askew, chairman of the Shiregreen Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said that he wants the order to continue.

In a submission to the licensing board, Mr Askew said: “We have noticed the reduction of people drinking in public and the disorder this can lead to, which is to the benefit of all on the estate.

“We feel that there is a need for its continuance as there are still empty cans and bottles to be found in some places in the morning, especially now the dark nights are drawing in, and therefore spotting those breaking the order is harder for all concerned.

“We feel that the hard work in setting up the DPPO must be carried on.”

Coun Peter Price said he and his fellow ward councillors Jane Bird and Peter Rippon also support the continuance of the DPPO.

He said: “The police and other agencies have worked hard during the past six months to give the DPPO a good head start, however we are still at the early stages of making an impression and more time is needed to make inroads with the community. 

“Every community group we have spoken to support this request and have found no one who would object.”

Prior to the DPPO being introduced last year, Insp Simon Leake submitted a 40-page document to council licensing bosses, setting out the effect making an order could have.

He said the neighbourhood had a problem with “people misusing alcohol and causing anti-social behaviour” and added: “I feel that Shiregreen deserves a change and it is my view that an order such as an alcohol exclusion zone will have the desired effect of showing the community that we will not stand for such behaviour.

“We want to see Shiregreen back to what it was, a community with a sense of unity, a community which will stand up to wrongdoers and knows it can rely on the support of its police and responsible agencies.”