A CRACKDOWN on anti-social drinkers and drug users in the town centre has been approved by Rugby Borough Council.
A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) passed by the council on Tuesday (July 21) gives police more power to act if they suspect those drinking or taking ‘legal highs’ in the town centre are causing, or likely to cause, a problem.
Anybody continuing to consume alcohol or failing to surrender their drink after being stopped by police could face fines up to £500.
The affected area is bordered by Caldecott Park and Regent Place to the north, Railway Terrace and Whitehall Road to the east, Horton Crescent to the south, and Corporation Street to the west.
It includes Trinity Church Yard, off Church Street, which was highlighted as one of the worst areas for the problem.
A spokesman for Rugby Borough Council said the legislation, drawn up in response to a public consultation, would help deal with a problem that affects residents and businesses in parts of the town centre.
He said: “The order allows police and community safety partners to order individuals to stop drinking, or certain other behaviours that are otherwise legal, if their behaviour is causing a nuisance.
“It is important to balance an individual’s rights against harm to others, including residents. The consultation responses we received suggest that the order gets the balance about right.”
The order noted that the police, the council and town centre management company Rugby First all have evidence of ongoing issues involving the consumption of alcohol.
The police recorded 375 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the 12 months up to May 2015.
Aftab Gaffar, managing director of Rugby First, said: “Rugby First’s team are often called upon by businesses and residents to deal with individuals who congregate and are given countless chances to stop this bad behaviour, yet they choose to ignore them and continue to drink in public, causing the community problems.
“We are committed in keeping the town safe, clean and friendly for everyone and the PSPO provides legislation that helps to deal with persistent issues that cause problems in the community.”
The PSPO does not apply to licenced premises such as pubs and restaurants.
A similar ban was introduced in Leamington and neighbouring towns in 2010 which tried to reduce anti-social behaviour in the district. Pete Cutts, community safety manager at Warwick district council, then urged that a blanket ban was more effective than only restricting certain areas.