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On-spot fines by police for street boozing brought in by Tower Hamlets Council

PUBLISHED: 11:49 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:49 26 February 2018

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs brings in on-the-spot fines for street drinking and anti-social behaviour. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs brings in on-the-spot fines for street drinking and anti-social behaviour. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

On-the-spot fines for alcohol drinking on the streets and rowdy yob behaviour in public are being introduced in London’s East End.

Night-time life in Brick Lane, December 2017. Picture: Jeremy Freedman Night-time life in Brick Lane, December 2017. Picture: Jeremy Freedman

A public order to give police and local authority enforcement officers new tough powers is being brought in by Tower Hamlets Council from Thursday.

It aims to clean up notorious hot-spots for drunkenness like Brick Lane which has been plagued by rowdy revelling at night.

Now anyone committing anti-social behaviour or boozing in the open could be slapped with instant £100 fines without going to court.

The fines can shoot up to £500, if convicted, for refusing to stop drinking when asked by police or enforcement officers.

Mayor John Biggs at December's Festival of Lights in Brick Lane. Picture: Jeremy Freedman Mayor John Biggs at December's Festival of Lights in Brick Lane. Picture: Jeremy Freedman

“This order is reassurance to the public that something is being done to tackle these issues,” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said.

“It gives police and council officers additional powers to target those who cause misery to others. Crime linked to excessive alcohol consumption is an issue for residents.”

The ‘get tough’ measures follow years of complaints from families living in ‘night economy’ hotspots like Brick Lane, especially around midnight.

Temporary orders curbing binge street drinking have been enforced from time to time in Spitalfields, Whitechapel and Shoreditch.

But the new measures from Thursday are being rolled out in a blanket coverage over the whole of Tower Hamlets, taking in areas like Bethnal Green, Mile End, Stepney, Wapping, Limehouse, Poplar and the Isle of Dogs as well as the ‘night economy’ district.

Any street in any East End neighbourhood is now under the tough ‘zero tolerance’ regime in war on liquor louts.

Cllr Asma Begum, the council’s ‘community safety’ cabinet member, said: “This order will only be used to tackle poor behaviour when people drink to excess.

“The whole of Tower Hamlets now has equal protection from bad behaviour to improve residents’ quality of life.”

Signs have been placed in prominent locations about the public order and its implications.

A six-week public consultation was held by the council two years ago when the borough-wide order was first mooted. This revealed 84 per cent of households, businesses, licensees, charities and other organisations backed the idea of on-the-spot fines.

But street drinkers in the East End will continue being offered help and put in touch with treatment services to deal with addictions and to move them away from the ‘street lifestyle’ and loutish behaviour.

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