Alcohol in Public Spaces Public Space Protection Order (PSPOs)

Closes 31 Oct 2020

Opened 14 Sep 2020


Hackney Council would like your views on the renewal of a borough-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) prohibiting street drinking associated with anti-social behaviour.  The current PSPO expires on 20 October 2020 and we’re looking to renew it for 3 years until  20 October 2023. 

The PSPO gives the police and authorised Officers of the Council  borough-wide powers to confiscate alcohol from a minority of drinkers whose excessive drinking causes problems for others in public spaces.  The Borough wide Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) was introduced on 24 May 2010. The purpose of the DPPO was to ensure that the consumption of alcohol in a public place did not cause disorder, nuisance or annoyance to members of the Public  The 2014 Act automatically transitioned the existing DPPO into a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on 20 th October 2017, and this is required to be reviewed every three years. 

Why is a PSPO to tackle antisocial behaviour related to street drinking required?

The PSPO is designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces without experiencing anti-social behaviour. These powers are not intended to disrupt peaceful activities and are used explicitly for addressing nuisance or annoyance associated with the consumption of alcohol in a public place. It is not a criminal offence to consume alcohol within a designated area. An offence is only committed if the individual refuses to comply with an authorised officer’s request to stop drinking. 

A PSPO cannot be used to restrict the consumption of alcohol where premises are licensed for the supply of alcohol as licensing law already includes safeguards against premises becoming associated with nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

The current Order is effective across all land to which the public have access across the borough.

Alcohol related anti-social behaviour can quickly escalate and have a significant and lasting impact upon communities. Whilst most residents, visitors or people living and working in the borough drink socially and behave responsibly, their right to enjoyment of our public spaces can be threatened by those who behave in anti-social manner,

The PSPO will allow Police and authorised officers to ask individuals to stop drinking and have their alcoholic drinks confiscated, if they are deemed to be acting antisocially. It is an offence to fail to comply with a request to stop drinking or surrender alcohol including any opened or sealed containers in the area covered by the PSPO.

How would the PSPO be enforced?

  • Breach of a PSPO is a criminal offence subject to, up to a level three fine on prosecution (up to £1,000)
  • A Fixed Penalty Notice can be issued for £100 for failing to comply with an officer's request to stop drinking or hand over the alcohol
  • Payment of the Fixed Penalty Notice discharges liability to conviction for the offence
  • The Police will work in partnership with the council to ensure the effective enforcement of the PSPO.

How long would the PSPO last for?

We are proposing that the PSPO lasts for three years, until 20 October 2023, at which point we would decide whether to renew it in consultation with residents. 

Who do we want to hear from? 

The consultation is open to all, but we would particularly encourage local people, businesses and visitors to Hackney to respond. We would particularly welcome responses from stakeholders responding on behalf of particular groups impacted by the PSPO.  

Have your say and what happens next?

We are currently reviewing the PSPO and would like to hear your views on any aspects of the proposed PSPO.  Please complete the survey and provide us with your feedback.  

Please read the Equality Impact Assessment and the proposed orders before giving us your views.  

Further information:

For more information or if you have any questions about this consultation please contact:
Tel: 0208 356 3000             Email:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the concerns and issues with street drinking/ drinking in public spaces? 

Street drinking is sometimes associated with anti-social behaviour, causing high levels of noise, rowdy and nuisance behaviour, harassment and intimidation of passers-by, as well as the littering of cans and bottles and urination in public spaces. 

How long has the current PSPO been in place?

The Borough wide DPPO, now a PSPO, went live on the 24th May 2010. The aim of this was to reduce the amount of anti-social street drinking occurring within Hackney and therefore lowering the number of residents’ complaints. Its aim was to ensure our public spaces are safe, improving the quality of life for residents and visitors. The Order was approved following public consultation during the last three months of 2009.

Can I be stopped or arrested for carrying alcohol in public spaces? 

A PSPO does not make it illegal to carry alcohol or to drink alcohol in a public place; as long as drinking is done responsibly, a PSPO will only be used to tackle alcohol related anti-social behaviour or disorder. Under these circumstances police will have the power to stop people drinking alcohol and seize or confiscate alcohol within the controlled area. 

Would people still be able to drink or hold alcohol bottles outside pubs? 

Yes. The PSPO does not make it illegal to drink alcohol in a public place. However, if a person was to drink beyond the legal boundary of licensed premises and they do not stop drinking if asked to do so by an officer authorised by the local authority, police officer or police community support officer, then they could be at risk of regulation. 

What about street parties and events in parks?

Events within a public place authorised by a premises license or a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) will be excluded from the Police and Authorised Council Officers PSPO powers.

A PSPO does not make it illegal to carry alcohol or to drink alcohol in a public place; as long as drinking is done responsibly, a PSPO will only be used to tackle alcohol related anti-social behaviour or disorder. Under these circumstances police will have the power to stop people drinking alcohol and seize or confiscate alcohol within the controlled area. 

How will the PSPO be enforced? 

If the person breaching the PSPO fails to comply with the requirements of the order,  they will be issued with a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice and taken to court if the fine is not paid within the specified timeframe. A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine up to £1000.

The PSPO will be enforced by Hackney Enforcement Officers and the Police.  

What areas in the borough are covered by the PSPO?

The London Borough of Hackney is covered by the PSPO including parks and open spaces from the borders of Haringey, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Islington and the City of London.

Does the PSPO ban drinking alcohol in public spaces?

It is NOT an offence to consume alcohol within the PSPO however; a Constable or Authorised Person can require a person to stop consuming what they believe to be alcohol and require that person to surrender any alcohol or container they believe contains alcohol. The Person must be informed that failure to comply with the Officers  requirement is an offence. A Constable or Authorised Person may dispose of the in whatever way they think appropriate

What evidence do you have that the PSPO is still required across Hackney?

The Council & Police currently use the powers at their discretion to confiscate alcohol where necessary.  

The DPPO, now the PSPO, has been in place for nearly eight years. In that timethe number of complaints in respect of ASB from street drinkers has gone from a historic high of 609 in 2010 to 38 in 2019 (though an increase of twelve from 2018), and there have been no complaints received in respect of the operation of the Order in the last year.

No fixed penalty notices have been issued in the last 12 month period. To some extent this is due to compliance of the individuals when approached by the council and police.  Hackney Enforcement Officers and Police Officers issue anti- social behaviour warnings prior to issuing FPNs for street drinking in an effort to deal with the problem in a proportionate manner.

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