Police are hoping to stop a group of off-licences in Leicester city centre selling the strong and notoriously cheap alcohol favoured by street drinkers.
Eight shops have been identified as regular destinations for alcoholics attracted by booze on sale for as little as 99p.
Now, police are hoping to prevent these shops, all in the Granby Street and London Road area, from selling any bottled or canned beers, lagers or ciders stronger than 5.5 per cent alcohol volume.
Granby Street resident Lee Pickering, a former Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for the area, said: “We’ve been asking for this step to reduce sales of strong, cheap alcohol for a long time.
“You can see people begging for a few minutes and then wandering into the shops to buy a bottle of cider for less than a pound.
In April, city police launched the latest phase of their ongoing efforts to reduce street drinking, including enlisting the help of homelessness and addiction specialists.
At the time, health workers estimated there were between 30 and 40 regular street drinkers in the city centre.
About a dozen of those have been identified as particularly problematic because of their aggressive and intimidating behaviour.
Police will make the case for the restriction during individual hearings for each of the shops in the next few weeks.
It seems a reasonable assumption that a relatively small constituency of 30-40 drinkers – who have to resort to begging to buy their booze – is unlikely to represent sufficient trade for off-licences to justify the stocking of ranges solely for street-drinkers’ benefit.
It follows, then, that this proposal will not just inconvenience the alleged target group.
Typically in our free and democratic land, rather than use the already draconian regulations that are applied to the rest of us when we’re quietly picnicking in parks or on the beach – and forcibly remove alcohol (in line with the local bye-law) from what appears to be about 12 troublemakers – the police prefer to enact a supply ban affecting all Leicester’s residents, no matter how responsible and law-abiding they may be.
In addition, their favoured course of (in)action will further threaten the viability of legitimate businesses in an already harsh economy.
The question arises; what happens when the ban merely encourages street-drinkers to drink something else? And to what lengths will they go to fund the increased cost?
The police already have too much law in this respect and they are paid to enforce it. It’s about time they fulfilled their responsibility instead of transferring it to us at the cost of our businesses and liberties.
In other news:
- Astra tops stolen car list – police demand that Vauxhall dealers stock Fords.
- Yobs graffiti city centre – paint sales ban mooted by police.
- Small hours crime wave - police impose city-wide night-time curfew.
- Growing incidence of marriages of convenience – police ban banns.
- Rise in bicycle thefts – Halfords razed to the ground following police swoop.
- Some story about some publicity-seeking bimbo – allegations ‘completely without foundation’ says Chief Constable.
- Dog-handler policeman leaves dogs to die in unventilated car – ..err….
- Leicester Mercury to shut on advice of police.
10 years ago today
- Coppers caught parking on yellow line outside McDonalds – photography in public places banned