Published: 10/08/2012 12:00 - Updated: 09/08/2012 16:17

Inverness cops want tougher rules on boozing in public places

Written byBy Hugh Ross

person drinking on benchA CLAMPDOWN on public drinking on Inverness’s streets is expected to be endorsed by Highland councillors who will be asked to strengthen existing bylaws.

It has been a crime for anybody to consuming alcohol in public areas in the city for some time and offenders are fined £40.

However, Northern Constabulary has lobbied the council to tighten up the bylaws which were formally introduced in 2003 in a bid to protect the Highland Capital’s image as a tourist destination.

The force want culprits who are caught in possession of an open container of alcohol to also be fined.

Private areas such as gardens are not affected and the Inverness city committee will be asked to back the additional bylaw on Monday before it is approved by the Scottish Government.

Extra signage will be erected to warn city residents and visitors of the change and the rules will be extended to Beauly and Ardersier.

Meanwhile, the committee will also be asked for its views on Inverness’s controversial midnight nightclub curfew which is currently the subject of a major public consultation.

Under the long standing rule customers are not admitted to premises after midnight but critics claim the rule is outdated and penalises revellers particularly tourists.

However, the force claims it allows them to police the city centre more effectively and it is also supported by the Pubwatch scheme.

The Highland Licensing Board has asked the committee for its opinion and stressed safety in the city centre was paramount in any submission and any economic factors could not be used as a persuasive factor.

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