Winchester City Centre becomes alcohol exclusion zone

Winchester's city centre became an alcohol exclusion zone on Friday, July 8 when a City Council order came into force.

The police now have the power to stop people drinking in public and under the Criminal Justice Police Act 2001, they can arrest anyone who refuses to stop drinking after they are asked not to by a police officer.

The area covers the whole of the city centre. Please click here to see a map of the area.

Winchester's Community Safety Partnership, which includes the police and Winchester City Council, has gathered evidence of alcohol related anti-social behaviour in order to secure the ban.

Superintendent Bob Rose said: "In Winchester we are committed to tackling alcohol related crime, disorder and nuisance and the problems of under age drinking and this is just another tool we can use to do this.

"Winchester is by no means a violent or dangerous city but there is a growing trend across the country for people to gather together, drink and act in an anti-social way which can make people feel unsafe.

"This exclusion order is a real sign of the council supporting the police in tackling crime and reducing antisocial behaviour on our streets."

Councillor Brian Collin, the city council's Portfolio Holder for Healthy and Inclusive Communities said: "The order is a positive step forward in making Winchester a more pleasant place to live and visit and shows what can be achieved when agencies work in partnership.

"The city council has listened to requests from city centre residents, the Cathedral and shop keepers to remove drinking from the public areas of the city centre.  This exclusion order will enable the police to take positive action against those who cause distress and nuisance to residents and visitors."

Winchester Sector Inspector Kevin Baxman added: "While the majority of people are sensible and considerate, there are a few who gather in the city to drink alcohol and act in an antisocial manner and these people will find the police taking a firm line.

"The offence is committed when the person fails to stop drinking or refuses to hand over the alcohol for disposal when asked to do so by a police officer. At that point an arrest can be made or a penalty notice issued."

On Thursday, July 7 posters and leaflets will be distributed around the city making people aware of the alcohol exclusion zone. The order will come into force on Friday, July 8.