Police presence has increased in Fallowfield with the influx of thousands of new students. With them has come warnings to students that drinking in public places is against the law.
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 states that it is an offence to continue drinking when asked to stop by a Police Officer. This is often loosely enforced in student areas. When on any night of the week, students can be found drinking at bus stops at on the way to night clubs and bars.
However, for the start of the new academic term, the Police have begun a new campaign in Fallowfield. At bus stops posters can be found that make it clear they are ‘Alcohol Free Areas’, explaining that it is illegal for students to drink while waiting for the bus to head off for a night out.
The focus of the legislation is to ‘put victims first’. The intention is that local Fallowfield residents would face less antisocial behaviour due to students not being able to drink on the streets of residential areas. Greater Manchester Police emphasises that drinking publicly constitutes anti-social behaviour, and that this is “an aggressive and destructive activity that intimidates, threatens and causes distress”.
This campaign reignites concerns that the act limits young people from using public places as they wish, even if they are following the law and acting appropriately. It has been criticised that students are being targeted for loud behaviour when going on nights out, instead of the Police tackling high levels of crime in the Fallowfield area.
Since 2005, the number of anti-social behaviour cases has decreased year on year. However, Manchester came out on top of the national table for the most incidents of anti-social behaviour being reported. This highlights that either behaviour is worse in the Greater Manchester region, or that residents are more likely to report anti-social behaviour to the police.