Wakefield city centre's street drinking problem getting worse, police say

Police have seized hundreds of bottles and cans from street drinkers this year.
Police have seized hundreds of bottles and cans from street drinkers this year.

Problems with street drinking and begging in Wakefield city centre are getting worse, police say.

Officers have seized hundreds of bottles and cans under public space protection order (PSPO) laws this year, which allow them to fine anyone caught drinking alcohol in the street.

Marygate, in Wakefield city centre

Marygate, in Wakefield city centre

But while councillors say a similar ban in Castleford town centre has had a positive effect, the police say that the issue in Wakefield is getting no better because of the price of booze.

In licensing papers published this week, West Yorkshire Police said that the area was being "flooded" with alcohol.

The force said: "Wakefield city centre is currently experiencing an ever increasing problem of street drinking and begging.

"This is primarily fuelled by the availability of cheap strong lagers and ciders offered for sale within numerous premises within the city.

"Officers are faced with the daily challenge of having to deal with the related anti-social behaviour and offences that result. With reduced officer numbers, police have looked to alternative methods to hold these businesses to account."

One such initiative being trialled by police is a can marking pilot scheme, where certain drinks stocked in off licences are imprinted with a coloured pen. As a result, officers are then able to trace where problem drinkers are buying their booze.

A council report in October said that since the street drinking ban was brought in to Wakefield city centre in August 2017, police have seized alcohol on 1,093 occasions.

A further 33 fines have been issued for the offence. Anyone not complying with the order can be charged up to £1,000.

Local Democracy Reporting Service