By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
A crackdown on public drinking in Croydon town centre will be introduced by Christmas.
Croydon mayor Jason Perry gave the green light for a new Public Space Protection Order to go ahead at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday night.
The new measures will mean local police will be given extra powers to confiscate booze.
It covers the town centre, as well as parts of Broad Green and South Croydon. A previous order was in place from 2017 but expired in 2020.
At the meeting, Councillor Ola Kolade, cabinet member for community safety, said: “We have had strong support from the community and from the business improvement district (BID) and the borough commander of the police.
“It will come into full effect by Christmas and New Year which traditionally is a hard time for antisocial behaviour in the area.”
More than 1,000 people responded to a public consultation on the plans with three quarters saying they “definitely agree” that street drinking negatively impacts the town centre.
However, there were concerns that the PSPO would simply push the problems to other areas. The council has agreed to review the scheme after two months to see whether this is a problem.
Leader of the Labour opposition, Councillor Stuart King, said: “There is cross-party agreement, we would particularly welcome the recommendation of taking a two-month review. I think if there are any concerns about the issue of displacement.”
He asked what the council and its partners were doing to address the “underlying” issues of “problem behaviour” in the town centre.
Mayor Perry added: “This isn’t a one size fits all, it is not the only part of the solution. We are working with partners to support those in need.”
When the changes were announced it was branded “social cleansing” by Green Party councillor Ria Patel.
In September, they said: “The proposal is about tackling antisocial behaviour but what the PSPO would do in reality is give police more power to arrest people who are street drinking or using drugs.
“That is not going to slow the rate of these problems, it is going to push them out of the town centre to the outskirts of Croydon.”
Pictured top: Croydon town centre (Picture: Tara O’Connor)