Analysis: Important clarification about the rules concerning drinking in the street

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An email which claims that people will be fined for drinking in the street – issued by Durham University and included in communications to colleges – is unclear and needs explanation.

It reads: “Durham City is a DPPO (Designated Public Place Order) area, so it is an offence to drink alcohol or have an opened alcohol container whilst in the city. This could amount to a £90 fine.”

This seems to suggest that the act of drinking in the street will itself lead to the issuing of a fine. That is incorrect.

The rules for DPPOs, taken from the Home Office website, state that fines will only be given to people who refuse to comply with a police officer’s request to stop drinking alcohol from an open container.

The document specifically states: “Those enforcing these powers must take care that they do not state (either verbally or via signage) that the consumption of alcohol in a designated area, in itself, constitutes a criminal offence.”

In other words, students caught drinking on the street will not be immediately fined – this will only happen if they continue doing so after being warned by a constable.

Stuart Goldie, a third year Chemistry student, who alerted The Bubble to this issue, said: “Considering the council and university plans to spend £50,000 educating students about alcohol, I consider this a pretty poor start.”

Durham Constabulary have been contacted for a statement.

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