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

New moves to curb ‘culture of street drinking’ in Wisbech.

New moves to curb ‘culture of street drinking’ in Wisbech.

Archant

The Government has agreed to fund Fenland District Council to crackdown on street drinking in Wisbech.

Police officers deal with street drinking in Wisbech Police officers deal with 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.

Alcohol confiscated by street-drinkers in Wisbech. Alcohol confiscated by street-drinkers in Wisbech.

They will work with the Wisbech Alcohol Project Steering Group to mitigate the impact of migrant alcohol misuse on local people.

Empty alcohol containers left by street drinkers in Wisbech. Empty alcohol containers left by street drinkers in Wisbech.

The council also hopes to reduce alcohol-related crime and litter.

Empty cans of lager and cider discarded in a Wisbech alleyway. Empty cans of lager and cider discarded in a Wisbech alleyway.

“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.

1 comment

  • "Two EU speaking alcohol outreach workers" to be recruited for the whole of Cambs? There are over 20 languages in the EU including English. I hope the advert will be more specific about which languages are required. I also think that Cllr Oliver could have taken the opportunity to state publicly that street drinking is not just an issue created by immigration as there are plenty of home grown street drinkers causing problems in Wisbech. Whilst this initiative is welcome it should start with the resources needed to enforce new by laws and it is also encumbent on local politicians to handle this in a way tha does not pander to their seemingly inherent racism.

    Report this comment

    Bob Smith

    Thursday, July 27, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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