Council to review byelaw which prohibits drinking in public

The law covering Shetland's main town Lerwick came into force in 2007, and there are exemptions for Hogmanay and Up Helly Aa.

Shetland Islands Council to review byelaw which prohibits drinking in public Getty Images

Shetland Islands Council is to undertake a review into the byelaw which prohibits drinking in public in Lerwick.

It comes after a motion was presented to a meeting of the full council on Wednesday by Lerwick South member and licensing board chair Neil Pearson.

He previously said was keen to ensure the byelaw – which prohibits drinking in public in Lerwick – is “still relevant to meet the needs of our community”.

“The particular area I have an interest in is protecting our youth from harm and I am simply asking the question, can we be doing more by means of updating our byelaw to enable this.”

It comes after recent concerns over antisocial behaviour in the town centre.

The byelaw came into force in 2007, and there are exemptions for Hogmanay and Up Helly Aa.

Pearson’s motion says that when the byelaw was set reviews should have been carried out every two years, but he believes this has not been the case.

“Much has changed since they were last reviewed and feedback from the police is that they are difficult to enforce and therefore – in my opinion anyway – are potentially in need of some minor updates,” the councillor previously said.

“Our police have stated that the byelaws need to be clear and enforceable I want our legal team to conduct a review and to open discussions with the police and various other stakeholders to see if we can do anything to help.

“I also want to remind many that a byelaw does exist in Lerwick and it is an offence to have an open container of alcohol in public places in Lerwick.”

His motion calls on the council to carry out a full review of the byelaw and then propose to either maintain the status quo or suggest recommendations where the byelaw can be strengthened.

It also calls on the Shetland Islands Council (SIC) to commit to a further review of the byelaw every five years.

The motion said the review should give “particular consideration to any measures which could be introduced to prevent persons under the age of 18 from being in possession of alcohol of any description regardless of whether that container is open or sealed”.

It also calls for consideration to be given of the boundary lines of the byelaws “to ensure they remain relevant and in line with any planned future developments”.

The motion was seconded by Shetland South member Allison Duncan.

There was little debate or discussion around the motion at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Pearson did say, however, that he had an open mind around the idea of other parts of Shetland outwith Lerwick having a byelaw – if they wanted one.

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