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New powers to tackle street drinking in Cannock, Rugeley and Hednesford

Police officers are set to be handed powers to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by street drinking across the Cannock Chase district by council chiefs after tough new measures were passed by council bosses.

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Cannock town centre will be covered by a Public Spaces Protection Order

Proposals for five Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) to be implemented in the area have been approved.

It will aim to tackle antisocial behaviour and problem drinking in Cannock, Rugeley and Hednesford town centres, the Fernwood area in Rugeley and Brereton's Ravenhill Park and potentially see those who don't comply landed with £1,000 fines.

The proposals were passed at the latest cabinet meeting and will now go out to consultation. It is likely they will then be implemented.

Deputy leader Bryan Jones, who is also head of neighbourhood safety at the authority, said: "Historically, we have had problems with the town centres, particularly Cannock, and a small minority of people who are habitual drinkers.

"We have tried community protection orders in the past but they haven't really worked. We do have problems with Hednesford and Rugeley, to a lesser degree, in parks and open spaces."

He added: "This isn't to stop people and families from having picnics in the park. We fully support people going to our parks, it's good for mental health.

"It's just about people drinking and causing antisocial behaviour and where there are problems, police can seize alcohol and they will be liable for a £1,000 fine."

A report to the cabinet, calling for their introduction, said: "This proposal aims to reintroduce five PSPOs to reduce alcohol consumption in town centres and parks across the district where current and historic behaviours have led to ASB, crime and disorder.

"It will also help to protect vulnerable individuals. The PSPOs would cover areas in Cannock town centre and park, Hednesford town centre and park, Rugeley town centre, Fernwood area and Ravenhill park."

The report added street drinking is leading to "unsatisfactory" levels of anti-social behaviour which was making areas of the district "unsavoury to frequent" – with there being a "hardcore group of street drinkers" currently causing the problem in the district.

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