£500 fines proposed for drinking alcohol on any street or park in Manchester
New orders would allow police to stop people from boozing in public spaces to help tackle anti-social behaviour, under the new plans by Manchester city council to extend a scheme from the city centre.
People drinking alcohol in any of Manchester’s parks, public squares or streets could face fines of up to £500 under plans which could be in place by spring.
Manchester city council wants to give police new powers to stop people drinking in public places by introducing a city-wide public space protection order (PSPO).
It comes after a similar scheme was introduced in the city centre in July 2020.
The local authority insists this is not a ‘blanket ban’ – but it does give police officers powers to stop people drinking in public spaces at their discretion.
People will still be allowed to meet outside for a social drink, according to a council report, but police could use the PSPO to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Anyone who fails to comply could face an on-the-spot fine of £100 or a criminal conviction which could result in a fine of up to £500 if found guilty.
A public consultation on the city-wide PSPO launched last summer, receiving hundreds of responses, and is now being considered by a scrutiny committee.
What’s been said about the plans?
Councillors on the committee will comment on the proposals at a meeting next week before a final decision is made and signed off by the town hall.
But Rusholme councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, who is the executive member for neighbourhoods, will consider the feedback of the scrutiny committee first.
He said: “Public Space Protection Orders are measures the Council has used for many years to address issues relating to anti-social behaviour.
“This latest PSPO is not a blanket ban on street drinking, but a way of officers and police to be able to respond appropriately when street drinking is leading to anti-social behaviour.
“A consultation has been carried out to examine if this PSPO would be proportionate, and we are carrying out further scrutiny from our elected members to ensure any final decision made will align with the best interests of Manchester residents.”
What has the public said so far?
A total of 334 responses were received on the public consultation survey.
Overall, most respondents were positive about the proposals, with 83 pc of those from North Manchester in support and 70 pc from South Manchester.
Particularly problematic areas for street drinking highlighted by the authorities include Platt Fields Park, Cutting Room Square in Ancoats and Chorlton Green.
But some members of the public opposed the proposal, describing parks and other green spaces as ‘surrogates’ for the lack of shared or private gardens.
Following the public consultation, council officers have proposed that a city-wide PSPO – excluding the city centre which is covered by a PSPO until July 2023 – is introduced to restrict people consuming alcohol in a public place.
The communities and equalities scrutiny committee has been invited to consider and comment on the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday (January 11).
The final decision to introduce a PSPO will be signed off by the strategic director for neighbourhoods in consultation with an executive councillor.
If the order is made, an appeal can be made to the high court within six weeks.