Harrogate Borough Council has taken the first steps to crackdown on street drinking in the town centre by making a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
The council has launched a consultation on whether to introduce the order which would give officers the power to ask people to stop drinking.
Whilst the introduction of a PSPO would not signal a ban on drinking alcohol across the town, officers could people ‘surrender’ their alcohol and fine them for refusing to do so.
The council first proposed the plans at a public meeting in February, aimed at tackling the town’s street drinking problem.
Dozens of residents and businesses first raised their concerns about the growing number of ‘intimidating’ street drinkers in town centre; selling drugs, urinating in alleyways and brawling in public.
Harrogate Police launched ‘Operation Parakeet’ in response to the problem and have welcomed the council’s proposal to clamp down on the issue.
Chief Inspector John Wilkinson of Harrogate Police said: “During the summer months - and surprisingly at other times of the year - my officers regularly deal with antisocial behaviour in the town centre.
“These incidents, witnessed by shoppers, visitors and business owners, often occur during the day and are frequently fuelled by alcohol.
“By having a Public Spaces Protection Order we will be able to tackle the issue of street drinking and antisocial behaviour and use a stepped approach that includes warnings, dispersal notices and fixed penalty fines.
“Residents and visitors should be able to go about their daily lives in peace and this new initiative would give us another tool with which to crack down on such unacceptable behaviour.”
Before making a decision on whether to introduce a PSPO, the council is hoping to get the views of people who own property, operate businesses and use Harrogate town centre.
Nicky Garside, head of Safer Communities at the council said: “We’ve listened to our partners and the public at a number of meetings and we are now looking to get the views of more people who use the town centre, along with local businesses and property owners.
“We feel that introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order would be a positive step, which would support other work in the district aimed at helping individuals with alcohol issues.”
To comment on the PSPO go to the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the council’s website at www.harrogate.gov.uk/Have-Your-Say and click on the PSPO section. A decision will be made by the end of June.