We are well aware of the community’s concerns and are already working hard to support the police in tackling all kinds of antisocial behaviour, of which alcohol-related litter is just one aspect.
Our collaboration takes many forms and the facts show that it is working well. Most recently it has included a campaign of joint patrols by police and Street Scene officers that ran from June to August in areas that local people had highlighted as being of particular concern: Wisbech Park, St Peter’s Gardens, Tillery Field, Leverington Road Cemetery and Harecroft Road recreation ground. We are happy to continue these patrols.
This has proved highly effective: in those areas alcohol-related litter has gone down by 63 per cent. The patrols acted as a visible deterrent, as well as being an active way of encouraging responsible behaviour from those choosing to drink in a public place.
At the same time the council has provided specific powers to help the police tackle all alcohol-related problems. We have put in place orders that allow the police to remove alcohol from drinkers under certain circumstances in specific areas. We have also liaised with them to bring in a Cumulative Impact Policy on licensing regarding key parts of Wisbech that will help to counter the effects of alcohol sales and street drinking, including litter
We have also worked with the police and the National Trust to tackle the issues caused by rough sleepers in the Trust’s land on Harecroft Road. This area was cleaned up on August 15.
The problem needs to be seen in its proper context. The fact is that alcohol-related litter makes up only a small part of the more than four tonnes of litter that is cleaned up in Fenland each day.
To tackle the irresponsible minority, the council carries out regular enforcement patrols that have engaged with thousands of people to encourage them to help keep Fenland clean and remind them of their own responsibilities. Where individuals are caught in the act of littering, officers issue fixed penalty notices, in line with government guidance. PCSOs also have the power to issue fixed penalties. Over the past five months, in the course of 480 hours of enforcement patrols, 13 fixed penalty tickets have been issued to people observed dropping litter and leaving it.
CCTV has a part to play, as it does in all in our joint efforts to combat crime and antisocial behaviour. Crime as a whole in Fenland is down 20 per cent and our CCTV operation continues to make a important contribution to that significant reduction. It is used when it is appropriate and practicable in particular circumstances and the police know that they can call on it, as they do regularly.