Alcohol ban runs the risk of penalising the innocent

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

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There’s no doubt that there’s a big problem with litter on Southsea Common, especially during the summer months.

As soon as the sun comes out, the wide open space becomes a magnet for all those who want to be outside enjoying themselves.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We all want to see our Common being used and it’s a beautiful spot to sit back and enjoy a picnic with family or a drink with friends.

But a small minority of people are spoiling it for everyone else and that’s not on.

After the last sunny weekend, we reported on the amount of litter left behind by an inconsiderate few.

Portsmouth City Council was swift in clearing it up and we praise the hard-working staff for getting on with the job so quickly.

Now a proposal has been made to ban alcohol from the Common in a bid to prevent a similar situation from occurring again.

The police already have powers to step in and confiscate drink there if they feel it’s responsible for anti-social behaviour.

But the real issue at stake is should the majority be penalised for the selfish actions of the minority?

Plenty of people enjoy a bottle of wine or a few cans of beer on the Common and do the responsible thing by taking their litter home or putting it in a bin.

We understand that alcohol may fuel some people to behave irresponsibly, but a wide-scale ban could be seen by some as too heavy-handed.

It would be great if we could rely on people to do the right thing without the need for any kind of rules or bans. But past examples have shown that some people don’t seem to care about dropping their litter for someone else to pick up.

Knowing that littering is a problem on the Common, patrols could be stepped up over the summer months.

On-the-spot fines are a good idea but rely on an offender being caught in the act.

More litter patrols would send out a message to those who don’t dispose of their rubbish properly, without spoiling a day out on the Common for everyone else.