New powers to penalise those caught street drinking, taking illegal drugs and using our streets as toilets have been given the go-ahead after growing concern over anti-social behaviour in Pontefract and Castleford.
A meeting of Wakefield Council’s cabinet was told last week that the consumption of alcohol and drugs and drunken disorder and intimidation was blighting communities in the two towns and in Pontefract’s Valley Gardens.
People living in and visiting Castleford were also contending with urine and excrement in alleyways.
Senior councillors gave the green light for Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to be introduced in all three areas, giving police and Wakefield Council new powers to deal with perpetrators.
Coun Maureen Cummings, the council’s cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “It is appalling that the actions of a few are spoiling it for others.”
The orders come just months after a PSPO began operating in Wakefield city centre.
A consultation about rolling out the scheme to other areas was then launched.
Businesses and members of the community in Castleford were vocal about the need for more action, and a petition was submitted calling for a ban on street drinking to help the community feel safer.
Inspector Paul Sullivan of the Pontefract, Knottingley and Castleford policing teams, said: “We have listened to the concerns of residents, shopkeepers and people visiting the towns and are well aware of the impact this has on the area.
“These new powers will give us increased ability to quickly confront and deal with people seen drinking alcohol in these zones.”
Anyone breaching the orders could be hit with a £100 fixed penalty notice of £1,000 fine if prosecuted through the court system.