Councillors call for town centre drinks ban
A complete ban on drinking all alcohol in the town centre and Central Park may now be the only solution to disgusting anti-social behaviour. That's the opinion of councillors who say they are at their wit's end.
Responding to a recent flurry of complaints about drunkenness and urinating in public Cllr Yvonne Gunter, portfolio holder for parks and open spaces, said: "We have tried everything else - polite notices, warning notices, threats, face-to-face confrontation, reduction of corners they can hide away in, lowering the height of shrubs - but nothing has worked. I am at my wit's end.
"People are right to complain, but I really do think the only solution will be to completely ban drinking alcohol in the town centre and the park. If it's illegal then firmer action can be taken against those who choose to flout the law."
Ward councillors Carol Taylor and Mary Wright agreed. Cllr Taylor said: "If it means people cannot then enjoy a bottle of with a picnic lunch in the park than that will have to be a price worth paying to stop these disgusting activities. The sad fact is that this kind of anti-social behaviour is committed by people who are drunk and have full bladders. It is also sad that they have nothing better to do with themselves than consume vast quantities of alcohol in public."
Cllr Mary Wright added: "It cannot be said that there are not public toilets available. There are public toilets immediately outside the park gates but people in drink and with full bladders urinate anywhere they please, in broad daylight."
Complaints have been made of groups of men in the park drinking, under the influence of alcohol, urinating in full view of the public and sometimes even children, intimidating other park users and leaving alcohol-related litter lying around.
Cllr Gunter said: "Their behaviour is shameful in any language and from any culture. They immediately know, from their behaviour, that what they are doing is unacceptable as soon as you confront them. I know not everyone is brave enough to do that. But most people have a mobile phone with them these days and I urge them to immediately report these incidents to the police using the 101 number. We do need public support to deal with this. Please call 101 every single time you witness this."
Cllr Taylor urged everyone to join the call for a complete drinks ban by making sure they took part in the borough council's current consultation on the future for drinking controls. The survey has now been extended to Monday, April 21.
The current Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO), introduced to help control drinking of alcohol in public places in certain circumstances, is being repealed.
It never was a ban and was related to alcohol consumption in connection with anti-social behaviour. New rules are being introduced and Boston Borough Council is consulting in order to plot a way forwards.
Cllr Gunter said it was not really the job of the council's parks staff to act as police, although they did confront people behaving indecently and were often met with abuse and threats of violence for their trouble. She said they really cared about the park and it was disheartening for them to arrive for work in the morning to have to clear up overnight debris left behind by those who climbed the fence and got in after the gates had been locked at the end of the day.
Inspector Jim Manning, Boston Community Policing Inspector, said: "Until a decision is taken to replace the DPPO we will continue to enforce it and dedicate patrols to it during the warmer months and ensure that it is robustly enforced."