Street drinking is an issue across the Borough. It is a problem in otherwise very law-abiding Northfield where I am currently a councillor. It is a very visible problem around the Mount in Acton but more generally across Acton too. It is a problem across the wards of Northolt, Greenford and Perivale where every other alley is used for drinking or as a toilet. It occurs in many of our parks. I have heard this complaint on the doorstep in every ward in the Borough.
The whole borough is a controlled drinking zone so the police do have some tools to deal with it. There is not enough evidence that they are using them consistently and effectively. Street drinking is not a priority for the police – it should be.
A Conservative led council can provide political leadership. It can use the council’s communications tools such as Around Ealing to explain in a measured way that this behaviour is not acceptable. It can task its community safety team on this issue. It can use the licensing laws to track down misbehaving businesses and councils have had success in voluntary agreements not to sell cheap, high strength products.
We don’t think that this will be remotely easy. It will require a consistent approach over time. We cannot change behaviour that has been tolerated for a long time by the wave of a magic wand. We can start the journey though and we can change the behaviour over time.