Cheltenham Police To Carry Alcohol-Testing Strips

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Cheltenham Police To Carry Alcohol-Testing Strips

Extra police equipped with alcohol-testing strips will help ensure everyone can enjoy Cheltenham's parks now warmer weather is on its way.

Cheltenham Town Centre Safer Community Team officers will conduct additional patrols in Montpellier Gardens, Imperial Gardens, Sandford Park and Winston Churchill Memorial Gardens throughout the spring and summer to enable residents and visitors to make the most of the town's green spaces.

These parks are alcohol-free zones but unfortunately some people fail to observe this and this can lead to drink-fuelled anti-social behaviour. An additional Police Constable and Police Community Support Officer will conduct patrols at regular intervals from now on to ensure the prohibition is enforced and to deal robustly with any incidents of anti-social behaviour.

As some under-age drinkers conceal alcohol in bottles labelled as soft drinks, the officers will be equipped with alcohol-testing strips. The strips change colour when they come into contact with alcohol. If officers are suspicious, a few drops of the drink can be poured onto the strip and if no colour change shows, the drink can be safely enjoyed.

PC Jim Powell of the Safer Community Team said: "We know from listening to members of the community that anti-social behaviour in the parks during spring and summer is a significant concern for local people and we are therefore putting extra resources into this area. We are fortunate in having such attractive green spaces in Cheltenham and while the vast majority of people make the most of them without spoiling anyone else's enjoyment, there are unfortunately some whose irresponsible behaviour causes disruption.

"I hope members of the public will be reassured by these extra patrols. Anyone tempted to behave anti-socially should remember, however, that this will not be tolerated and they can expect to be dealt with robustly."

Alcohol will be seized from anyone found drinking in these areas. If youths are found to be involved in anti-social behaviour, the SCT's three-tier approach will be implemented: on the first occasion a letter will be sent to their parents or guardian; if it happens again, police will visit their home to speak to the parent or guardian about the incident and give advice about the importance of acting more responsibly. If it happens a third time, further action will be taken which could result in an Anti-Social Behaviour Order application being made. Adults behaving anti-socially will face a fixed penalty fine and repeat occurrences could also lead to action which could lead to an ASBO being taken.

PC Powell added: "I urge parents to support us by ensuring their children do not have access to alcohol as irresponsible drinking not only makes the individuals involved vulnerable but contributes to anti-social behaviour. Licensees and their staff are also reminded of the importance of challenging anyone who appears under 21 for ID and that we regularly conduct test purchase operations."

Posted : 18/04/2008 16:33:51

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