Brits to be fined for boozing in public places in fresh law and order crackdown

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    After warning that anti-social behaviour could be a “gateway to more extreme crimes,” PM Rishi Sunak is to crack down on people who drink alcohol in public places.

    Sipping a beer at a bus stop or at a war memorial is just one of a range of low-level offences that are set to be “quickly and visibly punished” in a major law and order crackdown.

    Police will also be allowed to drug-test suspects arrested on a wider range of offences under the new rules.

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    At present only people suspected of burglary, robbery, theft, fraud, begging and possession of class A drugs can be tested. But now people arrested in connection with anti-social behaviour offences will be tested. Offenders could be required to undergo drug education or treatment.

    Use of nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is also going to be targeted. At the moment the drug – which does have some legitimate uses – is not illegal in the UK.

    But Sunak plans to close that loophole, saying the craze leaves streets and parks littered with with silver canisters, leads to disorder, and could be a health risk for young people.

    Drug misuse laws are expected to be tightened up to allow police to arrest people found with nitrous oxide gas in public. At present the Psychoactive Substances Act only bans the supply of nitrous oxide for inhalation.

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    At last autumn’s Tory party conference, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she wanted police to take a tougher approach on cannabis, saying that weed’s reputation as a “harmless” drug was a mistake.

    Referring to criminologist James Q Wilson’s “broken windows” theory, where he said that ignoring minor crimes led to greater ones being committed, the Home Secretary told Tory members: “Setting out that I take that seriously I hope will send a message to the police as to what I expect their priorities to be: anti-social behaviour.

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    "The broken windows theory is something I'm a big believer in and I think we strayed a bit too far from that objective."

    But perhaps the most dramatic example of the PM’s big law and order blitz will be “hotspot policing” pilots where an army of police officers, Police Community Support Officers and council wardens will descend on specific areas and start rounding up suspects.

    People caught graffitiing or fly-tipping will have to spend up to 20 hours cleaning it up within 48 hours of committing the offence.

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