Hackney Council consults on new police powers to control problem drinking

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Council consults on new police powers to curb problem drinking

Hackney Council is calling on residents to respond to proposed plans to tackle anti-social drinking by making the borough of Hackney into a Controlled Drinking Area. The consultation launches on the first day of Alcohol Awareness Week (19-23 October).

Although a recent survey revealed that people in the borough think anti-social behaviour has improved, residents have told the Council they are still concerned about drink-fuelled rowdiness in Hackney’s public places.

One way to deal with this is through a borough-wide Controlled Drinking Area, which gives police powers to confiscate alcohol from those who are drinking and causing trouble in streets, parks and open spaces. Drinkers could also receive a Fixed Penalty Notice if they refuse to give up their alcohol when the Police ask them to.

Two Controlled Drinking Areas already exist in Gillett Square and in the centre of Hackney, taking in St John s Churchyard and the Narrow way.

If Hackney became a Controlled Drinking Area, this would not mean a ban on drinking alcohol in a public place. The borough-wide measures would simply exist to help curb incidents of irresponsible drinking leading to threatening or unpleasant anti-social behaviour.

From now until the 24 December 2009, the Council will consult residents, Hackney’s 750 licenced premises, street drinkers, community groups and others on the proposals.

Cllr Alan Laing, Member of Cabinet for Neighbourhoods said: "If we decide to make Hackney into a Controlled Drinking Area, it will be because we aim to put an end to aggressive drink-fuelled behaviour in areas that should be family friendly and safe for everyone. These new police powers are targeted at a minority whose drinking causes trouble. They are not aimed at the majority of us, who may want to enjoy a beer in the park or a glass of wine at a picnic."

Inspector Andy Walker of Homerton Neighbourhood in Hackney said: “We consider that the existing controlled drinking areas have been effective in tackling the behaviour of a hardcore of drinkers who were causing trouble in Hackney. If the entire borough becomes a controlled drinking area, the hope is this would prevent drinkers from simply migrating to other streets in Hackney, where the controlled drinking area is not in operation."

Since the Controlled Drinking Area came into force, there have been fifteen arrests for alcohol related anti-social behaviour in St John s Churchyard – five have led to ASBO applications with four granted. In Dalston, the Police issued 618 warnings, 162 penalty notices for £50 and conducted 37 arrests related to persistent drink-fuelled anti-social behaviour.

The Council will examine responses, and residents will be informed of its decision within three months of the end of the consultation.

To have your say you can complete an online survey by visiting: and selecting ‘Borough Wide Controlled Drinking Area Survey’ or for further information about the public consultation, please contact Barry Scales on 020 8356 3137 or email

Notes for Editors

* Hackney Council’s Drugs and Alcohol Awareness Team (DAAT) will be in local parks during National Alcohol Awareness Week (19-23 October) talking to residents about the proposals and advising on safe, sociable drinking.

DAAT can be found in London Fields (Monday 19), Haggerston (Tuesday 20), Clissold Park (Wednesday 21), Springfield Park (Thursday 22), and Hoxton (Friday 23).

* Alcohol Awareness Week in England and Wales runs from 19 October to 25 October 2009 and aims to encourage adults to think about how much they are drinking.