Police have taken action against dozens of nuisance street drinkers in a crackdown on drunkenness in Bradford city centre.
Officers have made 13 arrests and given 27 people 'directions to leave' in the first two weeks of the operation - but businesses blighted by the problem have called on the authorities to do more.
City centre business bosses said public drinking around City Park and Centenary Square was a massive problem, complaining that trade had slumped because of the activities of drunken nuisances.
Inspector Andy Gallant, in charge of policing the city centre, has pledged to stamp out the growing problem of street drinkers.
He said yesterday: "We are pleased with what has been achieved so far, but it is important to note this is a long-term partnership approach to tackling the issue of street drinking in the city centre and the anti-social behaviour that can sometimes be associated with it.
"This is not only aimed at the street drinkers, but also the licensees and their staff and making sure that they are aware of their responsibilities in the sale of alcohol.
"We will continue to work together to look at different solutions to this problem, while taking robust action against those found to be involved in, or contributing to, further incidents."
Among those sent packing from the city centre this week was a woman known to become a problem after drinking alcohol; a known alcoholic who becomes aggressive and abusive to the public; and another man who goes shoplifting when drunk.
But one city centre trader said business was down by a quarter because of the problem.
Others told of fights breaking out and people urinating outside their premises.
One described it as "a nuisance to all businesses, families and kids wanting to enjoy the mirror pool."
Council leader David Green said it was important to have a carrot and stick approach to the issue.
"It's not only a problem for members of the public who are getting harassed or feeling intimidated by the actions of individuals, there is also a health issue and we need to support those people to get off their addiction and get a healthier lifestyle," Coun Green said.
He added: "It's important that people feel able to come in to Bradford city centre - or any other centres - and feel safe. The police are doing their best and are clearly having some effect in dealing with the immediate problem people are facing."
Deputy Conservative group leader, Councillor Simon Cooke, raised the issue at a full Council meeting last week.
He said yesterday there would be a problem with drunkenness in the city centre while there was nice weather.
"The impression I get is the problem isn't so bad during the day, but becomes worse as you get into the evening. We need to think of it as an anti-social behaviour problem by people who are drunk.
"It's about policing being responsive and getting in there early enough, before people start beating lumps out of each other or bothering girls.
"There is clearly a role for police to make sure things don't get out of hand. It will be a while before the police operation really takes effect.
"It's important that we pick up these people who have serious problems with drink or drugs, and get them into support, otherwise they will be back and we will be doing another campaign to move them on. If we do that we will have got the right balance between protecting the public, making sure they can enjoy City Park, and supporting those people with drink problems."
One of the businesses affected by the problem is The In Plaice fish and chip shop, on the corner of Centenary Square and Sunbridge Road.
Its manager, Andy Wharton, 41, the manager of The In Plaice, said: "Nobody is doing anything about it. Drunk people are sat in doorways."
He described how two drunk people had been fighting outside his business one morning last week. He said the activity had cut his trade by about 25 per cent. He said: "Who wants to bring their family?"
On recent police efforts to curb the drinking, Mr Wharton said: "PCSOs try to make an effort but it's still full of drunks. Nothing has changed in the two weeks. It's as if police just move them on and forget."
A city centre restaurant worker, who did not wish to be named, said one particular group of drunks had become known locally as the 'Fountain Crew' because they always gathered around the water feature in City Park. He described how people often urinated outside the back-door of the restaurant.
Many nearby businesses echoed his comments. A city centre worker said drunks often entered their premises and stayed in all day, and were often sick on the premises. He said they had not seen a lot of police presence and had even seen "PCSOs walking past drunk people."
BUSINESSES ARE AFFECTED BY DRUNKS
BUSINESS bosses dotted around Centenary Square and City Park say their takings are down because the behaviour of street drinkers was putting off customers.
Faiz Khan, 44, of iCreams, on the edge of Centenary Square, said public drinking in the area was a “massive problem” and that many of his customers were women and children who were concerned by such behaviour.
He said the drunk people were “here from 9am to the late hours.”
He described it as a “nuisance to all businesses, families and kids wanting to enjoy the mirror pool.” He said: “It affects everybody. People are wary and get frightened to walk past.
“It wouldn’t be a normal day in the city centre if no-one was arrested.
“It makes me ashamed to be Bradfordian.”
Yasmin Khan, 22, an employee of Premier Newsagents, said the business was “losing out on profits” but said the shop “didn’t serve people who drink a lot” or appear to be drunk. She said: “We don’t know who it is that’s causing it. We see police often. Police were supposed to be helping businesses.”
She said the shop did get the “odd drunk person” coming.
“Sometimes I think the police aren’t doing anything,” she added.
Dawood Takolia, of Umer’s Fast Food, said that drunk people sat outside the shop, which caused confrontation.
He said that he did not want to be seen arguing outside of the shop as it affected customers. “As soon as police are gone they come back again.
“Police should give them a verbal warning to get them scared,” he added.
Nishant Sharma, 39, of the Chinese Buffet in Centenary Square, said the drinking definitely affected his business and £300-£500 could be lost because of it as “families try to get away and tend to stay away.”
He said: “Police are quite helpful but can’t kick them out and the council needs to do something.”