Wellingborough Council is making Irchester an alcohol-free zone in the hope of reducing incidences of antisocial behaviour in the village.
The Alcohol Consumption in Designated Public Places Order (DPPO) comes into effect on 23 November and will enable police to confiscate alcohol from people who are behaving antisocially as a result of drinking. It won't be an offence to drink alcohol in the village, but failure to comply with an officer's requests to stop will be. If people don't comply with the request they could be arrested and, upon conviction, fined up to a maximum of £2,500.
Members of the council's community committee agreed to support the DPPO back in September, after increasing requests from residents, the police and the parish council. A full council meeting approved the order after hearing that Irchester suffers consistently from a high level of alcohol-related disorder - between January 2009 and July 2010 there were 459 antisocial behaviour incidents reported, with an average of 24 per month. The problem tends to be worse on Friday and Saturday nights between 8pm and 1am, when groups of up to 30 youths can gather in the village centre.
DPPOs are an effective tool used by local authorities across the country to deal with the problems of antisocial drinking in public places. Cllr Terry Perkins, ward councillor for Irchester said: "Putting a DPPO in place is not something we take lightly. We needed to provide evidence that Irchester has a problem with street drinking and that police powers would assist in dealing with the problem. The Home Office states that crime statistics for the previous six months must be examined and that this should show the extent of the problem and that it is greater than for other areas. We also consulted the police, the parish council and any other organisations or individuals that would be affected by the order.
"There is a successful alcohol exclusion scheme in Wellingborough town centre which has recently been expanded, and we hope to have similar results in Irchester."