Ban on drinking and begging in Hatfield?

PUBLISHED: 15:10 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 12 October 2017

Market Place, Hatfield

Market Place, Hatfield

Archant

A consultation is to be launched on whether people should be banned from drinking alcohol on the streets of Hatfield town centre.

An Alcohol Control Zone has already been tried in Hatfield town centre. An Alcohol Control Zone has already been tried in Hatfield town centre.

Welwyn Hatfield Council will be going out to consultation on proposals to tackle antisocial behaviour in Hatfield town centre and other areas of the town, including French Horn Lane and Cavendish Way.

The council is looking at whether to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which would give the police powers to issue on the spot fines of £100 to people contravening the order.

Police would also be able to prosecute those responsible.

The PSPO would ban people from having open cans or bottles of booze in the street.

It would also be used to tackle begging, loitering around cash points, rough sleeping, urinating and defecating in public in Hatfield.

With begging and rough sleeping, the council would look to help individuals through outreach work before resorting to the PSPO.

Hatfield town centre used to be an ‘alcohol control zone’, which meant police could only take action if those drinking on the streets were causing harassment, alarm or distress.

The new PSPO would mean police could issue a fine to people drinking alcohol, regardless of whether or not they are causing alarm to others.

A council spokesman stated: “Recent consultations captured residents’ views and concerns about the town centre environment, including the impact of street drinking, begging and rough sleeping.

“Although outreach and support work will remain the major focus to tackle these issues, a PSPO could provide a useful tool in some cases where more serious action is necessary.”

The consultation on the PSPO will be open from Monday, October 16, to Sunday, November 26.

PSPOs can be enforced by a police officer, police community support officer and delegated council officers.

A breach of the order is considered a criminal offence with fines of up to £1,000 handed down at prosecution, or a fixed penalty notice of up to £100 on the spot.

A PSPO can last for up to three years, after which it must be reviewed.

It is proposed that the same control zone that covered the old Designated Public Protection Order in Hatfield would be used for the new PSPO.

Councillor Roger Trigg, executive ember for community safety, said: “We’ve listened carefully to people’s thoughts and concerns and considered how best to address these moving forwards.

“We’re spending millions to improve Hatfield and this would work alongside our investment programme to ensure we’re encouraging better use of our shared spaces.”

The consultation will go live on Monday and will be available at www.welhat.gov.uk/HatfieldPSPO

Alternatively, consultation documents will be made available at the Hatfield Library, the council offices in Hatfield town centre (above Simmons), or by calling 01707 357706.

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