Police to clamp down on Cathedral louts

POLICE are planning to clamp down on anti-social drinkers and louts in the grounds of Ely Cathedral with the introduction of a new public order.

POLICE are planning to clamp down on anti-social drinkers and louts in the grounds of Ely Cathedral with the introduction of a new public order.

Complaints about drinking and anti-social behaviour in the grounds of the city’s iconic cathedral have been on the increase in the last 12 months but the police are hoping to tackle the problem with a new designated public place order (DPPO) that will give them new powers to seize alcohol.

The order will also be enforced in the city’s Cherry Hill Park and will allow officers to target repeat offenders with increased fines and possible arrest.

The order is a joint operation between Cambridgeshire Police and the district council and is similar to an order introduced earlier this year at Jubilee Gardens in Ely, where late night drinking had been causing misery for residents.

Cathedral staff have been experiencing a similar problem with anti-social behaviour and have reported to police cases of drinkers leaving cans and rubbish spread over the grounds, shouting and swearing loudly and even urinating against the cathedral itself.

Staff have expressed concern that people will be put off visiting the cathedral due to the continued presence of a small group of drinkers who gather there.

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Andy Bartlett sector inspector for Ely, said: “In the last few years we have had close links with the cathedral and it became clear in discussion with them that anti-social behaviour and drinking in the grounds of the cathedral had become and issue.

“We felt it was time to move our activity on to the next level and it was agreed with our local partners at the council and the cathedral that a public place order would be the most useful course of action to pursue.”

Since the introduction of the order in Jubilee Gardens in April the police have seen a dramatic fall in the number of incidents and are hoping a new order for the park and cathedral will have a similar effect. Inspector Bartlett was keen to stress however, that the order was only designed to tackle those causing a nuisance and that people drinking responsibly could and should continue to do so.

Though the new DPPO is still in its early stages, Inspector Bartlett was confident that the new order would be ready to bring in to force by March next year.

The DPPO must first be put to public consultation however, before being considered for approval by councillors.

Mayor of Ely Brian Ashton, welcomed the move, “The city council was very happy to support the proposal for a new order,” he said.

“There was a similar order introduced in Jubilee Gardens which proved very successful and I think it will do so again in this case.”

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