A COMMUNITY group chairman says a drinking control zone across Lewisham is a ‘waste of time’.

The Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) gives police officers discretionary powers to stop people and confiscate and dispose of any alcohol within the boundaries of the borough.

It does not make drinking in public an offence but is a measure to tackling anti-social behaviour.

Failure to comply with a request from the police to hand over alcohol can result in arrest and a fine of up to £500.

Chairman of Rushey Green safer neighbourhood ward panel, James Dobson, says there should be tolerated zones for street drinkers.

Mr Dobson, said: “Personally I think it’s a job half done. The drinkers aren’t going to go away. They will just ignore the order.

“It’s a complete and utter waste of time.”

He added: “If you accept the fact there are street drinkers it would be nice if they were accommodated.

“If they did have a place to go all the relevant authorities could be monitoring and observing them.”

The scheme is a trial and will run until the end of February next year.

Following the end of the DPPO Lewisham Council and Lewisham Police will review its effectiveness to see whether it should be introduced permanently across the borough.

A council spokeswoman said: “The council has listened to the concerns of residents and businesses about how they might like to see the issue of anti-social behaviour associated with street drinking tackled.

“This DPPO is one way for us and Lewisham Borough Police to tackle this issue.”

Cost of implementing the drinking control zone

New signs are currently being installed in areas around the borough to remind people they are in a controlled alcohol zone.

The cost of the signage is £8, 512, which includes their design, purchase and installation.

They are being paid for by the council from its community safety revenue budget.

The cost of enforcement of the DPPO will be met by the police.