ALL of York looks set to be made an alcohol exclusion zone under new plans to tackle drink-fuelled disorder in the city.

The Safer York Partnership said the implementation of 20 alcohol exclusion zones in various areas of the city had moved the problem to other neighbourhoods, so it now wanted to create one all-inclusive city-wide zone.

Police, firefighters, council officials and probation service staff will meet today to discuss the idea, and it will then be put to public consultation, ahead of a possible launch in the spring.

If the plan gets the go-ahead, police will have the power to seize alcoholic drinks in any public place in the City of York Council area from anyone deemed to be behaving antisocially as a result of drink.

Officers have to power to arrest people or issue fines of up to £500 if they do not comply with confiscation orders in exclusion zones.

Jane Mowatt, director of Safer York, said: “As we move towards lighter evenings, usually we notice increases in alcohol related antisocial behaviour. It’s a good time to look at it before we get to the stage again when we get peaks in problems.

“I think it will make things easier. With 20 orders, it’s difficult to have boundaries. What we started to see last summer was that where we have orders in place in the city centre there was a clear movement of individuals just over the boundary. We want to stop nuisance for residents in these areas. My feeling is people are not going to cross the ring road to consume alcohol. It makes it easier for agencies to address problems.”

She said people drinking responsibly would not be affected by the order, but that it would enable police to deal with those acting in a way that could alarm or distress others.

She cited the example of Union Terrace car park and Walmgate, where alcohol exclusion orders meant alcohol-related antisocial behaviour had moved to the boundaries of those zones.

In September, scores of people, including taxi drivers and business owners, signed a petition calling for seven streets in the Stonebow and St Saviourgate area to be turned into a “no alcohol”


The petition said there was a “massive problem” with street drinking and associated antisocial behaviour around the taxi rank and Heron Foods, which the petition organisers claimed was off-putting to local people, tourists and school parties visiting the Dig centre, in St Saviourgate.

Other areas in York which already have alcohol exclusion zones include Strensall, Towthorpe and Copmanthorpe.

Ms Mowatt said there would be some costs if the city-wide scheme were approved, in terms of producing signs and legal notices, but she said signs from existing alcohol exclusion zones could be redistributed further afield.

York Press: The Press - Comment

Ban on anti-social drinkers welcomed

THE whole of York is to become an alcohol-free zone, under new plans to tackle antisocial drinking.

Before the howls of outrage start, that doesn't mean you won't be able to go to the pub or a bar for a drink. It doesn't even mean you won't be able to enjoy a responsible drink occasionally in a city street, square or park.

What it will mean is that if you get so drunk in public that you're causing a nuisance, the police will have the right to take your alcohol away. And if you're repeatedly caught being drunk and disorderly, you'll be asked to get help for your drinking problem.

The aim is to crack down on the kind of rowdy, drunken street drinking that can sometimes make York an unpleasant, even threatening place to be.

Last September, scores of people – including taxi drivers and business owners – signed a petition calling for seven streets in the city centre to be declared individual alcohol exclusion zones.

The problem with such individual zones is that people quickly learn where the boundaries are and move just outside the zones to do their drinking.

Declaring the whole city an exclusion zone would make it much easier to police, said Jane Mowatt of Safer York Partnership.

Hopefully, it will mean a city in future in which we can all go out and enjoy ourselves – without having our fun spoiled by street drunks.

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