SOCIAL drinkers have “nothing to fear” from a decision to give police more powers to deal with alcohol-related bad behaviour, it has been claimed.
The entire borough of Bournemouth is to be covered with a Designated Public Places Order (DPPO), which will enable police to confiscate alcohol from anyone drinking in public and causing a nuisance.
The council’s cabinet gave the plans – which were first reported in the Daily Echo last week – the green light.
Cllr David Smith, cabinet member for planning and environment, said replacing the current separate DPPOs that covered the town centre, Boscombe and Charminster with one for the whole borough would help them tackle problems, rather than displace them.
“This is an initiative that the town wants,” he said.
“People who want to have an innocent drink, a bottle of wine in the gardens or on the beach – it won’t affect them in any way providing they’re not causing any antisocial behaviour.
“Ordinary people have nothing to fear about this.”
He said public consultation revealed 85 per cent supported a borough-wide order, as did 96 per cent of the licensed premises who replied.
Cllr Anne Filer said she had seen first-hand the problems of displacement, with drinkers being moved from Boscombe now causing problems on the clifftop.
“The civil liberties of the people running businesses and living there are just as important as the civil liberties of the people who want to drink irresponsibly,” she said.
“The police can’t do anything at the moment with people who are carousing and causing havoc and yelling out at passers-by. They have to have this power in order to be able to use it. This will be an enormous tool for the police when they want to use it. I can’t see any negative to this whatsoever.”
Cllr Lawrence Williams questioned whether the police had enough resources to enforce a borough-wide DPPO and Cllr Jane Kelly said the people they were talking about needed help rather than just being moved on.
But both supported the move, meaning it received unanimous backing from the cabinet.