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My Norwich

Closed consultations: Public Spaces Protection Orders

Closed consultation: Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) - Alcohol Control Area

Consultation closed 5 April 2021


The PSPO gives the police and authorised officers of the council powers to confiscate alcohol from people whose excessive drinking causes problems for others in public spaces. A PSPO covering this issue for the same area (see link to map below) has previously been in effect but expired in October 2020. The proposed PSPO will reinstate the same measures to help reduce disorder, nuisance and annoyance to members of the public.

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 antisocial 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.

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

A 2020 Norwich Police reported stated that 86% of antisocial behaviour crimes were associated with drunken conduct. Common complaints were regarding groups congregating in public, shouting, swearing and public urination.

The PSPO will allow Police and authorised officers of Norwich City Council 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.

The PSPO is not intended to 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 antisocial behaviour.

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 (reduced to £70 if paid within 10 days). The individual will be taken to court if the fine is not paid within 14 days. A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine up to £1000.

The PSPO will be enforced by the Police and authorised officers of Norwich City Council.  

Contact details

If you require further information or have any questions about this consultation process, please call 0344 980 3333.

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.

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?
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 a licensed premises and they do not stop drinking if asked to do so by an authorised officer they could be at risk of regulation. A PSPO will only be used to tackle alcohol related antisocial behaviour or disorder.

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 antisocial 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.

Does the PSPO ban drinking alcohol in public spaces?
It is not an offence to consume alcohol within the PSPO, however; an 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. The authorised person may dispose of the liquid in anyway way they think is appropriate.