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Southwark plans crackdown on anti-social street drinking

Plans to give police more powers to stop anti-social street drinking across Southwark have been backed by borough commander Ch Supt Ian Thomas.

On Tuesday night Southwark's executive agreed to start the consultation on a borough-wide DPPO (Designated Public Places Order), more widely known as an alcohol control zone.

Ch Supt Ian Thomas gave the plans his full support, pointing out that two-thirds to three-quarters of the borough already suffers the nuisance of street drinking.

The DPPO would allow police and community wardens to confiscate alcohol if they are concerned about the behaviour of individuals, but would not generally make the consumption of alcohol in the area an offence, meaning sporting events and festivals can still be celebrated fully.

A borough-wide order also allows the police to target specific areas within the zone without dispersing the problems to other areas.

Councillors point out that Mint Street Park in the Borough has been suffering the effects of dispersal from the Waterloo drinking control area in the borough of Lambeth.

They are promising thorough consultation with neighbouring boroughs before Southwark presses ahead with its plans.

"Street drinking is a serious problem not only for those involved, but also for the local community who have to suffer the consequences," says council leader Nick Stanton, who represents Riverside ward.

"The team in Camberwell have made huge progress in reducing the number of street drinkers in the area and helping them into treatment, and it is vital that progress is maintained.

"Our plans will help the police deal with anti-social street drinking much more effectively, while allowing people to enjoy sociable drinking. I am delighted that the Borough Commander is supporting us."

“We have learned from other boroughs and are confident that a borough-wide alcohol control zone will tackle the problem for the long term.”

The rest of the formal process will take a minimum of 28 days following the publication of notices. The final decision will be taken by Council Assembly.

Southwark's wardens are currently undergoing accreditation training to be able to use the new powers.

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