Alcohol-free zone misnomer
SIR - I write to correct – once again – the assertion made by Save Our Sleep that there is an alcohol-free zone in St Albans (Herts Advertiser, June 20). There is not. The law does not allow for one. The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 removed all by
SIR - I write to correct - once again - the assertion made by Save Our Sleep that there is an alcohol-free zone in St Albans (Herts Advertiser, June 20). There is not. The law does not allow for one.
The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 removed all bye-laws that had previously banned the consumption of alcohol in public. What St Albans has is a Designated Public Place (DPP).
This is an area in which alcohol can still be drunk in public but where anti-social behaviour associated with drinking is not allowed.
The Home Office is very clear in its guidance that a DPP should never be referred to as an Alcohol Free Zone or a Drinking Ban Area as such terms are misleading.
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So standing outside The White Swan or The Boot and peacefully enjoying a pint or a glass of wine is absolutely fine. It's precisely what the law allows and both the council and the local Constabulary agree. Quite why Save Our Sleep refuse to accept this is beyond me.
Perhaps it's because the many hundreds of DPP signs throughout our city are so misleading.
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The design deployed by the council includes a silhouette of a bottle, a can and a glass in a red circle with a red diagonal line through it. Home Office guidance on DPPs reads: "We suggest avoiding the use of diagonal lines through bottles or glasses on signs as they may suggest some sort of prohibition or ban on alcohol itself."
The council have assured me they will be changing their signs as soon as possible.
Finally, if you are a member of Save Our Sleep, I do hope this further reminder of our right to enjoy a drink in public doesn't keep you awake at night.