Common sense has prevailed

PUBLISHED: 14:27 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:42 11 May 2010

JUST over two years ago, I wrote to The Crow with concerns about the imposition of an alcohol free zone in Royston. Today, I am delighted to say that, counter to my initial misgivings, the current arrangements of a Special Designated Area, (which inclu

JUST over two years ago, I wrote to The Crow with concerns about the imposition of an "alcohol free zone" in Royston.

Today, I am delighted to say that, counter to my initial misgivings, the current arrangements of a Special Designated Area, (which includes the Priory Memorial Gardens), are a triumph of common sense over authoritarianism.

Following a number of enquiries, which culminated in speaking to a duty police sergeant the following was made clear to me.

The notion of "alcohol free zone" in Royston is a misnomer and misleading.

The reality is that anyone over the age of 18 continues to be free to drink alcohol within the Special Designated Area, provided they are not drunk and incapable, drunk and disorderly, and not engaging in activity either likely to cause a breach of the peace or occasioning a breach of the peace.

An offence is only committed under the following circumstances.

* Those under-18 drinking alcohol

* Those who supply alcohol to those an under-18 commit an offence.

* Anyone engaging in the type of behaviour indicated above also commits an offence.

* Anyone who is drinking and continues to do so after being required by police to cease drinking.

The penalty for failure to cease drinking is £500, soon to rise to £2,500.

In other words, the police have the usual, wide discretion that the public order acts have for a long time bestowed upon them.

I am glad to see that common sense has prevailed, in favour of an outright ban, the nature of which this country is getting tired.

ROBIN PLUMMER

Royston

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