Tough new powers to crack down on people responsible for alcohol-fuelled crime and antisocial behaviour have come into force, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell announced yesterday.
From today police and local authorities will be able to apply for Drinking Banning Orders (DBO) on individuals aged 16 and upwards who regularly commit crime or anti-social behaviour while under the influence of the alcohol.
Magistrates will be able to impose any condition they think is necessary under the "booze ASBOs" to protect the public from that individual committing further offences. This could include banning from consuming alcohol in public places, including certain pubs, bars and off licences and restricting them from entering certain areas.
The orders can last from between two months and two years and anyone who breaches a DBO is liable for a fine of up to £2,500. Offenders who are subject to an order can be referred a Positive Behaviour Intervention Course to address their alcohol misuse. Successful completion of the course may lead to a reduction in the length of the order.
Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said:
"Tackling crime and disorder linked to alcohol is one of our top priorities and we have made real progress but with the cost to the UK totalling billions of pounds a year we know there is still more to be done.
"These orders will stop those people who are well known to the authorities, licencees and often the communities where they live, from ruining lives and will make them face up to their destructive behaviour.
"If irresponsible drinkers do not accept support, these orders will ensure that they face some very real consequences." Jeremy Beadles, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:
"We welcome steps to crackdown on those who commit crime or are involved in anti-social behaviour after misusing alcohol. Tough enforcement against offenders is critical if we are to change the culture around problem drinking.
"We support Government steps to encourage police, local authorities and magistrates to use the powers at their disposal to combat the behaviour of a troublesome minority."Don Shenker, Alcohol Concern Chief Executive, said:
"Used as part of a package of measures to reduce alcohol harms these initiatives can make a real difference to safety on our streets.
"Policing of alcohol-related crime must go hand in hand with more robust measures to curb irresponsible and illegal sales and improved treatment pathways for dependent drinkers.
"We welcome the idea of positive behaviour courses to educate people about alcohol harm – these courses should be available for everyone who has been given a Drinking Banning Order. "
DBO Positive Behaviour Intervention Courses will be available across the country and will be run by a list of approved providers. The Government is not supporting these courses financially and participants will be expected to pay a fee for attending the courses, between £120 and £250, to cover the costs.