Safer Spalding – Booze Battle Stepped Up With New Scheme

The fight against street drinking in Spalding is being taken to traders and shopkeepers in an effort to clean up the town.

A new Safer Spalding will see police, Trading Standards officers, council officials and retailers joing forces to stop the Saver Spalding sale of super-strength and single cans of alcohol in shops throughout Spalding town centre.

Piles of empty beers cans in the town’s Francis Street car park and reports to the police of rowdy and violent behaviour caused by excessive drinking have led to the campaign being launched in an effort to tackle street drinking in Spalding.

Insp Jim Tyner, community policing inspector for South Holland, said: “Street drinking continues to be a significant issue for many people and this scheme will support the work of my officers by reducing the amount of super-strength beers that are easily available.

“Meanwhile, the single-can policy will mean that street-drinkers will be taking more of a financial hit when we seize alcohol from them.

“A similar project elsewhere in the UK resulted in a 50 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour, 40 per cent less street drinking and 25 per cent less shoplifting linked to the off-licence taking part, with no damage to alcohol sales.”

Businesses signing up to the voluntary scheme will be advised on how to trade responsibly, having pride in their community, under-age restrictions and partnership working.

The scheme, which applies within Spalding town centre, has won support from Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce and South Holland District Council.

Stuart Brotherton, the chamber’s BusinessWatch coordinator, said: “Safer Spalding has the full support of the Chamber of Commerce as it will contribute to a more pleasant shopping environment and safer place for those that work in the town centre.”

The stain of street drinking and related problems in Spalding town centre led to the Free Press and our sister paper, the Spalding Guardian, launching our We’ve Had Enough campaign in 2012-13 which was supported by more than 1,800 people.

Meanwhile, figures from NHS Lincolnshire showed that alcohol-related issues cost them an estimated £41 million in 2010/11, with excessive drinking also linked to domestic violence, homelessness, teenage pregnancy and anti-social behaviour.

Coun Malcolm Chandler, the district council’s portfolio holder for regulatory services, said: “This initiative is aimed at reducing the impact of street drinking by working supportively with licensed retailers.

“It also provides a framework to encourage understanding of the role of alcohol retailers in tackling the issues of street drinking and alcohol-associated anti-social behaviour.

“Evidence from retailers in other areas have demonstrated that by supporting the proposed voluntary scheme, they can improve shop security and not have any adverse effects on their trade.

More figures from the Institute of Alcohol Studies showed that families in the UK spend an average of £7.20 a week on alcohol, with the nation facing an annual bill of £21 billion for alcohol-related issues.

Coun Chandler said: “In partnership with the police and other agencies, we want to ensure residents feel safe and comfortable in Spalding.”