C OPS across South Belfast recovered hundreds of bottles of booze during the Twelfth celebrations in a joint operation with Belfast City Council.
Data released by police shows that on July 12 and 13, cops across the area seized 241 “items of alcohol” from revellers lining Orange Order parade routes and stored them in “seizure points” at locations including the Dublin Road and along the Lisburn Road, where the main Belfast parade passed.
Officers are estimating that altogether in Belfast 1,152 bottles of booze were lifted on July 12 alone from drinkers contravening Council bye-laws banning the consumption of alcohol in public places. This is believed to amount to approximately 2,880 “health units” of alcohol.
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Over the last number of years, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has been working very closely with parade organisers and other partners to tackle drinking in public spaces and at public events.
“Police remain committed to tackling the issue of consuming alcohol in public spaces. However, we recognise that this is a wider social problem which we will continue to work with partners to address.”
Meanwhile, South Belfast Alliance Councillor Cathy Curran said the joint operation on the Twelfth was similar to how authorities tackled the booze problem in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day, when areas such as the Holyland are traditionally affected.
“We saw a massive amount of people on the streets in South Belfast, and of course among them will be people who are drinking alcohol,” she said.
“This is expected at big events like this, but I really think the Council in partnership with the PSNI have done a good job in taking as much of the drink off the streets as possible and trying to keep the event family friendly.
“We would all like to see stricter controls on public alcohol consumption, as it causes major problems, not just on the Twelfth, but, for instance, on St Patrick’s Day also. There will always be limits on what we can do, as there are limited numbers of staff and police officers on the ground at any one time.
But for what we’re faced with I think we have managed a good job.”
“Police remain committed to tackling the issue of consuming alcohol in public spaces. However, we recognise that this is a wider social problem, which we will continue to work with partners to address.”