Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Battle with boozers hasn’t been won yet
POLICE have said they will not rest until the scourge of nuisance street drinkers has been cleared from the town centre.
Operation Arcadia, an initiative to combat the huge spike in anti-social behaviour caused by a group regularly drinking in public, came to a head on Friday when the three most prolific offenders were handed indefinite anti-social behaviour orders.
David Coutts, Andrew Dunn and Kevin Wolton were all banned from drinking alcohol in the town centre and Old Town, being in a group of more than three people and from entering the bus station.
But while the police operation has been successful in reducing the reports of nuisance behaviour to just five in December, this month there has been a rise in reports and several new street drinkers identified, with some coming in from Cheltenham, Gloucester and Trowbridge.
Town centre police have said they are now set to take ASBO action against a further four people and also use neighbourhood justice panels, a Ministry of Justice pilot scheme, for the lesser troublemakers.
Sgt Barry Reed said: “We were pleased with the three ASBOs given by magistrates on Friday but our work is not finished.
“We have seen a slight rise this month in activity around the bus station, with some new members of the group being identified.
“We understand some have come from as far as Cheltenham or Gloucester, as well as Trowbridge, and this may be because they have had to leave their areas or think they may avoid police attention.
“We have so far this month had 10 calls regarding anti-social behaviour at the bus station and we are pursuing around 13 people and at the moment are looking to progress another four ASBOs.
“The others will go before the neighbourhood justice panels, which have been successful in the past.”
Frances Maples, Swindon Council borough solicitor, who prosecuted the three ASBOs last week, said: “I am glad the public interest has been put first and particularly welcome the banning order in respect of the bus station area with regard to the disorder caused there.
“These were part of a wider strategy, with more applications to come against identified individuals.”
Anyone with any information about anti-social behaviour should contact the town centre neighbourhood policing team on 101.