Alcohol-free zone hailed a success

PUBLISHED: 20:14 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 11 May 2010

IN THE ZONE: Pc Nick Musto, Royston town councillor Lindsay Davidson, PCSO Alan Kelly, Beth Knight, anti-social behaviour officer for North Herts District Council, and Sgt Pete Frost.

IN THE ZONE: Pc Nick Musto, Royston town councillor Lindsay Davidson, PCSO Alan Kelly, Beth Knight, anti-social behaviour officer for North Herts District Council, and Sgt Pete Frost.

A POLICE initiative to curb alcohol-related incidents in Royston has been described as a success by Herts police. An alcohol-free zone was launched in November and covers an area including the town centre and the Priory Memorial Gardens. Opened cans or b

A POLICE initiative to curb alcohol-related incidents in Royston has been described as a success by Herts police.

An alcohol-free zone was launched in November and covers an area including the town centre and the Priory Memorial Gardens.

Opened cans or bottles are banned.

Sgt Pete Frost, Royston's community officer, said: "The alcohol-free zone has worked.

"There is less drunken behaviour, but we are now ap-proaching the summer holidays which is a time when more problems occur.

"We did actively promote the zone, but we want to get the message across to everyone."

Pc Nick Musto said that figures looking at the effect of the zone were difficult to obtain.

"We don't have to record most of the people who we speak to.

"It is a case explaining the situation and most people get rid of their alcohol and leave."

Royston has the only alcohol-free zone in North Herts and is setting a precedent for other towns.

Anti-social behaviour officer, Beth Knight, from North Herts District Council, said: "Other towns are looking at us to see what we have done and if it is working.

"The zone is beneficial to the town.

"We had large numbers of youngsters drinking in the alcohol-free zone, but touch wood it has stopped.

"This is one of the large steps we have taken in the town and it has worked."

But Royston town councillor Lindsay Davidson believes the signs in the alcohol-free zone are not clear enough.

"The signs have unclear wording. They need to tell people that drinking alcohol is prohibited in these areas."

Sgt Frost explained that the wording on the signs was due to legislation.

He continued that he was pleased with the effects of the alcohol-free zone.

He said: "Alcohol has an affect on crime and disorder in the town.

"This has given us additional power to stop people walking around with open cans and bottles.

"If it is working we can divert our attention to other areas in the town."

Sgt Frost added: "The number of youths who had been drinking in this area has dropped con-siderably since the zone came into play. It's made a huge difference.

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