Post conviction Drinking Banning Orders pilot launched in West Hertfordshire

01/11/2010

Drinking Banning Orders (DBOs) are a new civil order that was introduced on 31 August last year and have been available in the Magistrates and County Courts. They are now being piloted as a post conviction order in West Hertfordshire, from 1 November.

A DBO can be made against individuals aged 16 years and over in cases of criminal damage to property committed while under the influence of alcohol, and some more serious alcohol-related crime and disorder or violence, and in particular, in cases where other early intervention approaches have not worked.

CPS Thames and Chiltern prosecutor Carolyn Hitchcock, Group lead on Anti Social Behaviour, said: 'Alcohol misuse, particularly as a result of binge drinking, is associated with a wide range of crimes or disorderly behaviour, including public order offences; criminal damage; minor and serious assaults; violent offences and traffic offences. Ordinary people going about their legitimate business are plagued by those who cannot control either their drinking or the effects alcohol has on them.

'Drinking Banning Orders have enabled the courts to impose restrictions that reduce the negative effects of drinking and now this control is being extended to offenders convicted of relevant offences by the court, which is good news for the vast majority of the community in West Hertfordshire.'

Chief Crown Prosecutor for Hertfordshire, David Robinson, said: 'The CPS will support the prosecution of individuals, who breach Drinking Banning Orders, where there is sufficient evidence to prove this. It is likely to be in the public interest to do so and I welcome this pilot in West Hertfordshire.'

Sergeant Ian Smith, from Watford Community Safety Unit, said: 'We are finding this legislation extremely useful and Drinking Banning Orders (DBOs) are now a vital tool in our fight against alcohol-related disorder and those responsible for committing such offences on licensed premises.'

There has been one stand alone DBO in West Hertfordshire to-date, when Keith Gentry (44) from Hemel Hempstead was given a two-year order on 19 April this year. He has since been charged with breaching the DBO on 9 July and the first hearing for this offence takes place on 2 November at Hemel Hempstead Magistrates' Court. If found guilty, he could face a fine.

DBOs can be made by the Magistrates' Court for a minimum period of two months to a maximum period of two years, under the provisions of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (VCRA). There is no power to apply to extend the length of the order to more than 2 years.

A major aspect of the DBO is that the courts can offer the offender the chance to attend an approved alcohol education course, which will potentially rehabilitate him and improve his prospects, as well as reduce the likelihood of re-offending. If a defendant is offered the chance to attend a course as part of his order, then the length of the order will reflect the time taken to register and complete the course.