A ban on street drinking in parts of Staple Hill comes after large gatherings and fights, say police.
Bristol Live yesterday revealed a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is in place from 9pm to 4am on Fridays and Saturdays, between the junctions of High Street with Lower Station Road, and Broad Street with Park Road.
Now Avon and Somerset police have given an insight into the issues which led to the ban. A force spokesperson said a rise in street drinking and antisocial behaviour has coincided with lockdown easing.
They added: “Licensed premises in the area are now closing at 10pm, which has led to significant numbers of people buying alcohol in off licences and continuing drinking in the High Street. This is leading to larger groups gathering, fighting and general nuisance behaviour.
“Over the past two months, there have been nine separate incidents of assaults and public order offences as well as reports of groups of up to 100 people gathering, verbal abuse towards members of the public, fighting with other members of the community, dealing in controlled substances and some evidence of individuals carrying knives and weapons.”
The order, in place since June 11, will be enforced by the police. Breaking it could result in a fixed penalty notice for £100, discounted to £75 if paid within 10 days.
Neighbourhood Inspector Clive Summerill said: “We’ve been working closely with South Gloucestershire Council to deal with these ongoing issues, which have become more prevalent since the easing of lockdown measures in the spring.
“Unfortunately, a small minority of people are continuing to engage in public disorder and anti-social behaviour, which is having a negative impact on the local community. This PSPO gives us additional powers to tackle the root cause of the criminality we’ve been experiencing.”
As well as covering a section of the B4465 High Street and Broad Street, the restricted area includes the first 50 yards of each road running off this stretch.
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The order prevents any person from being in possession of any opened or unsealed bottle or container of alcohol, although it does not apply to beer gardens.
Cabinet member for communities, Councillor Rachael Hunt, said: “We know the problems we are seeing in Staple Hill are the result of a minority of people and we will not tolerate it.
“Street drinking and associated anti-social behaviour is affecting other members of the community as well as businesses which have already struggled so much over the past year.
“The PSPO will allow us all to prevent these issues and will also allow the police to manage this area positively, in turn reducing the anti-social behaviour and boosting confidence within the community.”
A police spokesperson added: “As part of the wider plans to tackle this problem, the Police and Licensing Teams will work with licensed premises to re-establish the Pub Watch Scheme in Staple Hill, which will introduce the ‘Behave and Be Banned’ Scheme.”
A copy of the order and a map showing the exact location can be seen here.