Community Trigger
Friday 22 June 2012

Drinking in Moseley curbed

Posted byBham CommSafety

Birmingham Community Safety Partnership (BCSP) has successfully secured a landmark injunction to help tackle the nuisance behaviour caused by beggars and drinkers in Moseley Village.

Officers from the Partnership’s Safer Communities Team have worked with local police, residents and businesses to obtain a Section 222 injunction which means that individuals are prohibited from conducting the following activity in the Moseley Village area:

(a) being in possession of an opened container of alcohol;
(b) begging;
(c) urinating or defecating or exposing their genitalia, other than when using a toilet which is available for use by members of the public; or
(d) having sexual intercourse.

Local residents have battled with this issue for over 10 years putting up with a regular congregation of large numbers of people drinking and begging in many different locations throughout Moseley. The aftermath of this activity has been just as serious including litter scattered all around Moseley from these individuals including cans, bottles, food wrappers, etc

Specifically, the behaviour has included aggression and intimidation from beggars when money is not passed over, drinking, defecation and urination in clear public view, indecent exposure and sexual acts being performed in public, specifically within the confines of St Mary’s Churchyard.

28 witnesses who are mostly residents have come forward to help secure this injunction − without them, this action would not have been possible.

Local resident, Ian Smith, commented:

“I just went to walk my dogs as normal, it was a different experience today and I must say a real pleasure… there were no drinkers round by the park so I could stroll in without worrying that my dog might be attacked by one of their dogs off the lead. I was not asked once for any money/cigarettes. I saw no drinkers around the square, no beggars, nobody sleeping anywhere, no arguing or fighting between the drinkers. In fact I did not see one of the drinkers that are always around. What a pleasure.

To put the icing on the cake, I walked back down Woodbridge Rd and there were five drinkers all with cans in there hands and talking about getting some more alcohol and where they were going to meet up in the village. I got home, called 101, explained what the issue was and about three minutes after calling, there were two police community safety officers dealing with some of the drinkers down the road…great stuff – it’s working!”

Cllr James, McKay, Cabinet Member Green, Safe & Smart comments:

“I congratulate the bravery of the local community who felt empowered to make a change and reclaim their neighbourhood. Criminal acts and anti-social behaviour should not have to be tolerated by decent people trying to live their day to day lives in peace.”

Following these reports of concern from local people and partner agencies and prior to the application being made, BCSP had being working with local alcohol referral services offering support to drinkers. The Section 222 is part of this package of measures to assist local residents in helping to make their area safer.

Officers are in the process of communicating this message across the area including to anyone who may have perpetrated these acts previously, in an attempt to prevent any breaches of the order. Leaflets and posters will be distributed and displayed to inform potential offenders.

The order itself will not resolve the problem overnight, but will enable support agencies to work with offenders. A joint partnership operation will now be undertaken and the Section 222 would be served on any drinkers in the area who are causing a nuisance after the injunction has been locally publicised. Any breaches will result in a fine, custodial sentence or both. Any resident who witnesses a breach of the conditions must report it directly to West Midlands Police on 101.

Section 222shave previously been successfully used to control boy-racers in the north of the city. This use of Section 222s to control behaviour where the identity of perpetrators was not initially known was initiated in Warwickshire. This is the first time that this legislation to control alcohol-related nuisance behaviour in this way.

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