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Alcohol free zones - Designated public place orders (DPPOs)

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North Devon's alcohol free signage in more detail (pdf 196 kB) PDF logo

What is a DPPO?

The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001external website provide powers to enable local authorities to designate places where restrictions on public drinking apply. The areas are referred to as designated public place orders (DPPOs), but you may also hear them called 'alcohol free zones'.

The powers, which replaced the old drinking by-laws, were introduced to help the police deal with the problems of anti-social drinking in the public space. DPPOs make it easier for local authorities to designate places where restrictions on public drinking will apply, however, they can only be used in areas that have experienced alcohol-related disorder or nuisance.

The Local Authorities (Alcohol Consumption in Designated Public Places) Regulations 2001external website set out the consultation, publication and signage requirements that local authorities must followed in designating a DPPO.

What powers are available to the police in a DPPO area?

The police and community safety officers accredited through a community safety accreditation scheme, have powers to control the consumption of alcohol within the designated area. If they believe someone is consuming alcohol or intends to consume alcohol they can:

  • require them to stop, and
  • confiscate alcohol from people whether the drinking vessel is unopened or not

If someone, without a reasonable excuse, fails to comply with the officer's request they are committing an offence and further action can be taken:

  • a penalty notice for disorder of £50
  • arrest and prosecution for a level 2 fine (currently a maximum of £500)
  • bail conditions can be used to stop the individual from drinking in public

When are the powers likely to be used?

The powers are not intended to disrupt peaceful activities, for example families having a picnic in a park or on the beach with a glass of wine. While police officers have the discretion to require an individual to refrain from drinking regardless of behaviour, guidance suggests that it is not appropriate to challenge an individual consuming alcohol where that individual is not causing a problem.

Section 13 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 makes clear that this power is to be used explicitly for addressing nuisance or annoyance associated with the consumption of alcohol in a public place.

Where are the DPPOs in North Devon?




South Molton



North Devon Council has erected signs in each DPPO. Please contact us if you have any queries with regard signage or to report vandalism of a sign in your area.

Further information and guidance

For further information see the Home Office Guidance on DPPOsexternal website (pdf 391 kB) PDF logo.

DPPOs are but one of a number of tools used by local authorities to combat anti-social behaviour.

Safer North Devonexternal website covering North Devon and Torridge districts has further information on tackling anti-social behaviour.

Contact information

To contact the Customer Service Centre:

Telephone: 01271 388870
For Typetalk: precede with 18001
Text: 07624 804042
Fax: 01271 388451
Web form: send us a web enquiry
Join the conversation on Twitterexternal website
Compliment, complaint or suggestion? Your feedback

Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Licence applications, notices etc should be sent to:

The Licensing Team
Environmental Health and Housing
North Devon Council
Civic Centre
North Walk
EX31 1EA

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