HC Deb 19 November 2003 vol 413 c1018W
Mrs. Anne Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in what circumstances he would advise a local authority to introduce a city-wide drinking ban using the model Home Office bye-law rather than a designated public places order; [136603]

(2) if he will make a statement on the circumstances under which a designated public places order for a city-wide drinking ban may be used to address aggressive begging; [136599]

(3) what the average length of time taken to implement a designated public places order has been from the day on which the local authority made a decision. [137239]

Ms Blears

Section 12–16 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (CJPA) came into force on 1 September 2001. The provisions in the Act allow local authorities to designate areas to restrict public drinking where there is evidence that nuisance is alcohol related. In such designated areas the police may use their discretionary powers to confiscate all alcohol where they reasonably believe that continued drinking in that place will lead to further disorder or nuisance. The CJPA provides the police with a more consistent set of powers including the power of arrest, which was not available in the previous bye-laws. Any relevant local authority drinking bye-law will lapse after five years commencing on 1 September 2001.

The powers contained in the CJPA were never intended to be used to introduce a blanket restriction on public drinking. The powers were intended to be used to stop the immediate problems caused by anti-social drinking in designated areas and to allow the police to confiscate alcohol in those areas. Section 13 of the CJPA could permit the designation of an entire local authority area should that area be experiencing problems with nuisance that is alcohol related.

The time it takes for a local authority to introduce an order will vary from the size of the area to be designated and also with regard to the time it takes to carry out the procedures required under the Local Authorities (Alcohol Consumption in Designated Places) Regulations 2001.

The objective of the CJPA powers is to tackle anti-social street drinking, rather than begging. Begging is an offence under Section 3 of the Vagrancy Act 1824. It will be made a recordable offence from 1 December 2003.

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