OUT IN THE FIELD: Get to root cause of street drinking

The three trekkers who head off to Cambodia next month: Jo, Annemarie and Claire
The three trekkers who head off to Cambodia next month: Jo, Annemarie and Claire

The debate about aggressive street drinkers in the town centre rumbles on and police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne has added her weight to the argument that it is not just down to the police to do something about the persistent problem and other agencies need to get involved as well as, much more importantly, look at the root causes of the problem.

With the latter in mind I contacted Eastbourne council to see what it could do. It turns out the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014 gives councils new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour that are more streamlined and victim focused, including Public Spaces Protection Orders or PSPOs.

These orders replace existing Designated Public Place Orders introduced by the council to tackle street drinking. According to the jargon, breaching an order can result in a fine of between £75 and £1,000. But, and it’s a big but, while council officers are authorised to enforce the order targeting street drinking, it’s been agreed with Sussex Police that their officers are more specifically trained and resourced to take the lead on on-street enforcement. Plus they are better trained for a bit of rough and tumble if it comes to that.

Which leads me to wonder if equally well-trained security guards could be introduced? Policing in isolation is not in my view the answer. And sadly, it still boils down to the fact that little has been done to establish how members of the street drinking community got into this position in the first place and what needs to be done to get them out of it.

Regular readers will know it is only two weeks until I put down my notebook and pen, don my walking boots and rucksack and head off to Cambodia for a week long trek to raise cash for the Chestnut Tree Hospice which looks after children with life-limiting illnesses and their families across the whole of Sussex.

There are more than 40 of us fundraisers flying out to trek through the jungle including Claire Lambert and Jo Smith from Hailsham. Our aim is to raise enough money to pay for all 24-hour care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes, for the entire duration of the trip.

The hospice costs more than £3.5 million per year to run. Families are never charged for their care and less than 7p in every pound is funded by central government, so it relies heavily on the generosity, help and support of the people of Sussex. If you can spare a quid or so please donate. The link is www.justgiving.com/fundraising/annemariefield

Thanks of the week go to ladies and gents on the council’s Neighbourhood First team who sprang into action when some domestic rubbish began piling up by bins located by the old Post Office in Langney Road looking rather unsightly and causing something of a stink.

Birthday greetings to Christopher Bean, Rich Mather, Theresa McManus, Adam Wake, Kate Palmer, Tom Liddiard, Karen Louise Smith and finally Anita Bolton, who turns 50 this weekend and continues to be an inspiration and ray of sunshine in so many people’s lives.