Merton Council has agreed to become a responsible drinking borough, replacing a current Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) from five wards to cover antisocial behaviour (ASB) related alcohol consumption across the whole of the borough.
Following a 10-week public consultation launched in December 2022, the council received 303 responses via an online survey. Almost 80% of respondents agreed with the proposal to discharge the current order and make a new PSPO controlling the public consumption of alcohol borough wide.
PSPOs are intended to address ASB and its impact on individuals and communities. They are council led and designed to prohibit certain activities – or to require that people do certain things when engaging in certain activities – within a defined public area.
Tackling ASB and the detrimental effect it has on quality of life is a strategic priority of the council. Making Merton a responsible drinking borough will give police and council enforcement officers powers to target those consuming alcohol in public in a way which causes or is likely to cause nuisance.
A responsible drinking borough will also aid the development of a safe and prosperous night time economy and assist in preventing displacement of problematic drinkers from one area of the borough to another.
It is important to note that the PSPO only applies to ASB-related alcohol consumption. Officers will continue to only enforce the controls where a person or persons are consuming alcohol so as to cause or be likely to cause nuisance or annoyance to any other person.
This means that residents wishing to enjoy a drink, for example, with a picnic in one of our parks or on the Common would continue to be able to do so.
Cllr Eleanor Stringer, Cabinet Member for Civic Pride, said: “I’m happy that we can extend this PSPO, so that residents can fully see its benefits. They definitively told us through the consultation that they support our plan, so we shall push on with the implementation.
“Merton is one of the safest boroughs in London. But we know that anti-social behaviour has an impact on people’s lives and how they feel about their local area, and it’s really important that when we launch policies to help residents, they can clearly see them being properly implemented.
“It’s also important that the PSPO is not solely punitive – it’s crucial that we can use it to help those in the borough who have problems with alcohol, informing them about the full range of services that we have on offer to help them.”