A ban on street drinking in Wisbech is “useless” because “nobody will enforce it”, a Fenland District Council (FDC) councillor has said. 

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) prohibiting alcohol consumption in public places in the town has been in force since 2017 and was renewed at a council meeting this week. 

But councillors questioned the point of the policy, despite voting through its continuation. 

“I’ve got to say, it’s useless,” Cllr Steve Tierney (Conservatives, Wisbech South) said. “Not because the policy doesn’t work, but because nobody will enforce it.”

“To my knowledge, no one has ever been charged or enforced since we introduced the policy.”

Currently, only police have the power to enforce the ban, which can result in a fine of up to £1,000.

But “they won’t”, Cllr Tierney said. “They’ll tell you that they’re too busy – that they’ve got to put their resources elsewhere – but the simple fact is that in all those places where we’ve put in PSPOs to stop people drinking, people are still drinking and creating anti-social behaviour.” 

He added that the council should also challenge the Government to better resource the police to tackle the issue and encourage them to do so. 

Cllr Jan French (Conservatives, March South), similarly suggested that FDC should write to the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner with its concerns, and asked “what’s the point of the policy if it’s not going to be enforced?” 

These concerns are also reflected by responses to the public consultation undertaken before the PSPO’s renewal. 

While 93 per cent of respondents supported the policy’s continuation, many criticised its current impact. 

“Shading in a map doesn’t equate to actually policing the order,” one wrote, while another added that they hadn’t seen “any evidence” of enforcement. 

“What will be done about it? Nothing has yet, so why bother?” another wrote.

But an FDC report, drawn up by council officers, says that “there has been improvement in the situation following the introduction of the PSPO”. 

An officer at the meeting added that “it is being used” but not to its “full extent”.

The PSPO covers central Wisbech as well as Tillery Park, St Peter and Paul Church and Memorial Gardens.