Havering Council opens public consultation to extend restrictions on alcohol consumption in Romford Town Centre

Havering Council wish to extend the PSPO that has been in place in Romford Town Centre since October

Havering Council wish to extend the PSPO that has been in place in Romford Town Centre since October 2017. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Ken Mears

Havering Council has opened a public consultation as it seeks to extend the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Romford Town Centre.

The order — imposed for a three-year period on October 23 2017 — bans two specific activities within public places in the town centre; firstly, people cannot possess an open container of alcohol; secondly, people must not consume alcohol (with licensed premises the exception to both).

The order was initially introduced to address anti-social behaviour and crime caused by public drinking, with the council outlining similar reasons in favour of extension on its consultation page: “Prior to the pandemic Romford Town Centre has traditionally seen a footfall of approximately 11,000 people each day from Friday to Sunday to shop and visit its thriving night-time economy.

“This continues to attract problematic drinking and associated crime, nuisance and anti-social behaviour within the town centre. Although the number of people visiting has been impacted by the pandemic this is gradually increasing and will continue to do so with the easing of lockdown.

“However it is apparent that there is a continuing need to prevent the occurrence and reoccurrence of alcohol related nuisance, crime and anti-social behaviour within the town centre.”

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To extend the order — a breach of which is a criminal offence — the council is legally-bound to carry out this consultation, which will close on September 14.

The extension is sought on almost identical terms, with a new pavement licence exception the only addition.

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To support its case, the council identifies crime trends in the Romford ward.

Figures from the Safestats Crime Themes Datastore website show that, between April 2017 and March 2020, Romford Town Centre had the highest number of alcohol-related incidents in the borough, with 35 per cent of all logged incidents in the ward taking place in this area.

It adds that having 135 licensed premises in the area heightens the risk that the activities banned by the PSPO “will occur and reoccur”.

The publication concludes: “An extension of the existing PSPO is the main tool that the council will continue to use to prevent problematic drinking and associated crime.”

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