Sidmouth drinking ban ‘not worth paper it’s written on’ if not enforced
- Credit: Archant
Controls on public drinking are ‘not worth the paper they’re written on’ if they are not enforced, according to a Sidmouth representative.
District councillor Cathy Gardner raised concerns to the town council at its meeting last week.
The meeting heard an individual had reportedly been ‘abusive and threatening’ - leaving residents ‘frightened to go to work’.
Councillor Gardner said: “I’ve had several occasions to be concerned about PSPOs [public space protection orders] and how they are being policed – or not – in the town.
“There’s a particular individual who has been causing quite a lot of problems in the town, including being extremely abusive and threatening.
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“I understand the police came and walked away. That leaves residents really concerned. There are supposed to be powers to do something.
“I would really like to know what the police are doing about this individual and how the PSPO is being enforced. If it’s not enforced, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.”
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The PSPO prevents the consumption of intoxicating substances on The Esplanade and in Market Place, Dove Lane, Prospect Place and Kings Lane. Anyone who breaches it faces an £80 fine.
Cllr Marc Kilsbie said: “It’s not just one individual. They all tend to gather around him. People are frightened to go to work. One guy was looking for him [the individual]. He was sick of his wife being insulted. Another was threatened with having their shop smashed in.”
PC Steve Lee told the Herald that police could have handed out ‘literally thousands’ of tickets for PSPO breaches during FolkWeek, but that would have been impractical and not in the spirit of the festival.
He added: “When we get calls to deal with specific issues of antisocial behaviour or persons, we do so as promptly as resources allow.
“Unfortunately, on many occasions we do not get called and it is assumed by the public that we ‘must’ know about the issue.
“I cannot comment on specific individuals as they may be subject to an ongoing investigation and as such any comment may prejudice that investigation’s outcome.
“If members of the public are concerned about the behaviour of anyone or believe that they are witnessing antisocial behaviour, it would be most helpful to the police if we are informed via 101 or 999, whichever is the most appropriate.
“That way a log is generated, which can not only be acted upon by officers on duty, but it can also form part of the evidence needed to obtain sanctions against an individual in the future.”
Police can use ‘acceptable behaviour contracts’ to persuade individuals to end their antisocial behaviour. Breaches can result in court appearances and criminal behaviour orders.