Fringe Box



Public Drinking Bans Toughened to Cut Crime in Guildford Town Centre

Published on: 15 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 16 Nov, 2020

A new borough council move is aimed at improving quality of life and enhancing safety for residents, visitors and those who work in the town. This stems from extending the town centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) until 2023.

The ordinance now prohibits drinking alcohol in specific public areas, targeting associated anti-social behaviour with fines up to £500.

Cllr Julia McShane, lead for Community, said: “For the past three years, the PSPO has made a significant impact on the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors to the town centre, by reducing anti-social behaviour (ASB) caused by people drinking alcohol.

Cllr Julia McShane

“We have a key role to play in helping make local areas safe, and tackling anti-social behaviour continues to be a high priority. It is important that our residents and visitors to the town centre feel safe to enjoy our beautiful town.”

The decision to extend the PSPO was supported by the Safer Guildford Partnership (SGP). The SGP brings together key agencies to share information used to plan a coordinated borough-level response to the prevention of crime, disorder, anti-social behaviour and reoffending.

Cllr McShane (Lib Dem, Westborough), added: “Guildford is one of the safest places to live, work and visit in the country. But residents have concerns about community safety issues, such as crime and ASB.

“Our work with the Safer Guildford Partnership is vital to helping us work together to respond to the issues affecting our communities.”

Inspector James Wyatt, Guildford borough commander, said: “I am responsible for policing across the borough, and work with partner agencies to make Guildford a safe place to live, visit and work.

“While the majority of those who visit the town centre do so without any issue, there is a connection between alcohol consumption, crime and anti-social behaviour.

“While our wider work with partner agencies continues to address specific issues identified, I am supportive of this PSPO and believe it to be appropriate and necessary.”

Brian Creese

But Brian Creese, chair of Guildford Labour, said: “Guildford Labour finds it surprising that the council has proposed an extension to the PSPO without providing any supporting evidence. In fact, Cllr McShane states that ‘Guildford is one of the safest places to live, work and visit in the country’.

“The town plan proposes an expanded riverside area for bars and evening social activity, which seems to go against the intention to further prohibit alcohol consumption in the town centre.

“The new way of service in pubs and clubs required under Covid, such as table service for drinks, may have mileage beyond the pandemic. In Guildford, we have all our clubs and the “megaSpoons” in the same street.

“Intelligent planning and licensing would help instead of prohibition and criminalising young people. Guildford Labour is supportive of measures to curb antisocial behaviour when necessary, but feel the council needs to make some effort to show such measures are genuinely needed and produce the evidence.”

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