Government cash for Wisbech to crackdown on street drinking - EU speaking staff to be hired as outreach workers
PUBLISHED: 14:12 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 27 July 2017
The Government has agreed to fund Fenland District Council to crackdown on street drinking in Wisbech.
The council will share £226,000 with Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to recruit two EU speaking alcohol outreach recovery workers.
They will work with the Wisbech Alcohol Project Steering Group to mitigate the impact of migrant alcohol misuse on local people.
The council also hopes to reduce alcohol-related crime and litter.
“The workers will also support the street drinkers and help them to access specialist health interventions,” said a council spokesman.
A report by the council last year showed a total of 402 street drinking incidents recorded on CCTV in Wisbech in 2015/16 “the highest incident category for town centre CCTV incidents”.
It also noted that during the day street drinking increases with peaks on Friday & Saturday and the numbers are increasing.
Earlier this year the town was chosen as one of 33 in the country with a street drinking culture and alcohol related crime problem that needed tackling head on.
Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, said they recognised that high levels of immigration “has placed pressures on public services and created community tensions.”
Combined with a share of £94,000 also provided by the Government to use social media to help migrants access more information about public services, he said the funding was helpful.
“This funding will help us to address these tensions and reduce the impact they have having on local people,” he said.
“It will also reduce the pressure and cost placed on services including doctors’ surgeries, police and the council for the benefit of all our residents.”
Last year the council’s licensing committee drew attention to the cluster of licensed premises close together in Wisbech - known as the cumulative impact policy.
A report showed that between April 2015 and 2016 the alcohol service worked with 283 people in the Fens who needed help to address alcohol misuse.
Out of those, 48 had an alcohol problem so severe it needed a community detox or an in patient stay in hospital - one in six.
During one week, almost 500 pieces of alcohol related rubbish was collected in Wisbech in a mass litter crackdown.
And the report noted that a photo of a drunken man falling over received 149 social media comments within 11 hours of being posted.
Another report to the council highlighted 72 street drinkers that had come to their attention.