View information in response to the most frequently asked questions about the PSPO, and the new rules for alcohol consumption in Aberdare and Pontypridd.
What does the PSPO mean?
The whole County Borough will continue to be dedicated as a Controlled Drinking Zone, where police and authorised Council officers have the power to request any person stops drinking and surrender alcohol if they are causing, or likely to cause, anti-social behaviour. The PSPO extends the current rule by introducing public ‘zones’ in Aberdare and Pontypridd Town Centres, stopping people taking intoxicating substances, including drinking alcohol.
Where are the zones in Aberdare and Pontypridd?
There are defined boundaries for the no-alcohol ‘zones’ in each Town Centre. Pontypridd’s zone includes Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd Railway Station, Pontypridd Bus Station and an area of lower Graig. Aberdare’s zone includes the Ynys development and playing fields, and Aberdare Railway Station. View maps which indicate the boundaries.
When do the rules begin?
The new rules will come into force from September 1, 2018.
What times of day do the new rules apply?
The new rules will be in effect 24-hours a day, every day.
Why are these rules being introduced?
The proposal was put forward following the 2016/17 crime perception survey as part of the RCT Community Safety Partnership. Almost a third of participants labelled alcohol as the single-biggest contributor to crime and disorder in Aberdare and Pontypridd. This was strengthened by a public consultation with residents in early 2018.
How will the new rules be enforced?
Authorised officers from the Council and South Wales Police will enforce the rules. If they see someone breaking them, officers will ask for the person’s name and address, and to hand over or dispose of their alcohol. If the person refuses, the officers will issue a Fixed Penalty Notice. As a general rule, the Council will focus on tackling day time drinking, but officers will be in a position to work evenings and/or weekends to address any intelligence that drinking is still occurring. Police will continue their work around the night time economy.
How much is the fine?
The fine is £100, which is the maximum fine that can be imposed. This will be issued if the person refuses to hand over or dispose of their alcohol. The Council would much rather residents adhered to the new rules than issuing fines.
What about licensed premises?
The PSPO will not apply to premises licensed for the supply of alcohol – including outdoor areas of these premises covered within the licence, such as beer gardens or permitted pavement seating areas.
What about events in the Town Centre?
The PSPO could be wavered for authorised public drinking at organised events within Aberdare and Pontypridd, including Christmas markets and the Big Welsh Bite event.
Does this apply to drinking on trains and in taxis?
The PSPO will not change the existing rules – that alcohol cannot be consumed on trains or in taxis. Authorised officers will be enforcing this rule while on their patrols.
What if I have alcohol on my person, but do not intend to drink it?
The authorised police and Council officers will judge each situation on its own merit. Generally, individuals will not be stopped by officers if it is clear that they do not intend to drink it within the no-alcohol zones – for instance, if alcohol is bought as part of your weekly shop. Individuals who have an opened alcoholic drink within the zones will be stopped.
How will this be enforced by staff?
Authorised officers from South Wales Police and the Council will be able to enforce the PSPO. Existing Council staff will be used from the Community Safety team, with additional officers being warranted to enforce, and support the delivery of, the PSPO. Existing enforcement staff currently dedicated for other issues such as littering and dog fouling will also be enforcing the new rules surrounding alcohol, while on their daily patrols.
What about a quiet drink at Ynysangharad Park on a hot day?
This will not be permitted. The park was included within the boundary for Pontypridd in order to tackle anti-social behaviour there – which has been raised as a concern by residents. The park will therefore be an alcohol-free zone all year round, but could be wavered for formal events and licensed premises.
What about other towns in RCT?
Aberdare and Pontypridd will be the only towns where no-alcohol zones are established, so street drinking will be permitted in other towns. This is because research indicates that Aberdare and Pontypridd pose the biggest problems for alcohol-related anti social behaviour. However, the PSPO will continue to dedicate the whole County Borough as a Controlled Drinking Zone, where police and authorised Council officers have the power to request that any person stops drinking and surrender alcohol if they are causing, or likely to cause, anti-social behaviour.
Does the PSPO just cover alcohol?
No – the PSPO covers all intoxicating substances.
Will I be filmed if I’m stopped by an officer?
Officers will carry body cameras, and the videos they record could be used as evidence if a person refuses to hand over or dispose of their alcohol, or fails to give their details upon request.
What about days when the Towns are very busy?
The risk of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour increases when the Town Centres are very busy – for example, on days when international sports matches are being played. The Council and police will ensure adequate provision is in place so that the new rules are enforced during these busy periods.
Can I appeal any fine that I am issued?
There is no formal appeal process for a Fixed Penalty Notice, which could be issued under the PSPO. If a person disagrees that they have committed an offence, the Council has an internal appeals process that can help to resolve any disputes. If no resolution is found and a person then decides not to pay the FPN, the matter will be decided by a Court.