Nuisance drinkers in Hackney to be fined under new order

Hackney Town Hall 

Hackney Town Hall - Credit: Julia Gregory

Drinkers could be fined if they cause a nuisance whilst consuming in public anywhere in Hackney.

Hackney Council’s cabinet has agreed a new borough-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) designed to clamp down on antisocial behaviour linked with alcohol.

It follows the most recent three-year, borough-wide order which expired in October 2020. There have been similar orders in Hackney for a decade.

The PSPO will not make it illegal to carry alcohol or drink it in a public place, if it is done responsibly. Instead it will be used to crack down on antisocial behaviour or disorder.  

Police will have powers to stop people drinking alcohol and confiscate it if drinkers are causing problems.

Earlier this year, Hackney Council asked residents what they thought about having a new PSPO in Hackney, including a ban on drinking alcohol in London Fields park. There was an even split of 48 per cent for and 48 per cent against the order amongst the 1,527 residents who responded. Two per cent were unsure. 

More than half of them (56 per cent) said they were not worried about antisocial behaviour caused by street drinking, but 31 per cent told the council they were concerned.

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Littering was the most common antisocial behaviour type reported by residents, followed by urinating in public, noise and verbal abuse.

Half of those who witnessed antisocial behaviour told the council “it had a persistent or continuing detrimental Impact” on them. Older people were more likely to feel this way.

The proposed ban on London Fields park proved unpopular, with 70 per cent of people opposing it and just 20 per cent in favour.

Mayor Philip Glanville said: “We are still utterly committed to ensuring that we continue to tackle antisocial behaviour, whether alcohol-related or not, in London Fields, and ensure that London Fields remains an inclusive place for everyone.”

According to Gerry McCarthy, the council’s head of community safety, enforcement and business regulations, the PSPO offers “a relatively light touch” as people only breach the order if they do not stop drinking, if it’s thought they have been involved in anti-social behaviour.

The council can issue a fixed penalty notice of  £100. This can rise to £1,000 if imposed by magistrates.