‘Prisons are full because police do their job’ - Sergeant responds to criticism over Wisbech street-drinking problem

SERGEANT Dave Bax has defended the police approach to tackling “street-drinking pests” in Wisbech - claiming prisons are full because officers do their job.

Police were criticised last month after they asked for public help in monitoring prolific offender Juris Dragancuks, 41, who was handed a two-year anti-social behaviour order last July.

In a letter to the Wisbech Standard, reader Stephen Herring said repeatedly bringing Dragancuks before the courts was a “complete waste of time”.

Mr Herring said: “The only real way to deal with these individuals is to deport them back to their own country along with a lengthy ban from these shores.”

But Sgt Bax, licensing officer for Fenland, said there were strict rules around deportation and that “it is not possible to just deport because we don’t like it.”

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Sgt Bax said: “Rather than just leave them to it and hope they are deported, we will continue to apply for court orders that prevent them behaving anti-socially.

“If they breach the order we will arrest them - isn’t that what the police are for?

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“The prisons are full because the police do their job and lock up the thieves, the burglars, and the violent thugs. Every empty cell should be used.”

Sgt Bax said the police had worked in a more “joined-up” way with the UK Border Agency but added that Wisbech “must never forget that a large amount of foreign nationals work very hard doing jobs that most locals wouldn’t do.”

He said: “We have a group of about 15-20 persistent street-drinking alcoholics, who cause mayhem. These persons are simply alcoholics from a range of nationalities, including British.

“This group don’t work, don’t claim, sleep rough and act in an anti-social manner. They are fed their daily alcohol by the large number of off-licensed shops in the town, and in some cases they even steal the alcohol.”

He added: “Prison is a chance to divert them and get them to join society. One thing is for sure: whilst they are in prison it is difficult to get booze.

“They certainly can’t spend their time roaming the streets boozing and annoying the community.”

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