London Mayor bans alcohol on Tube

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Indy Politics

The first posters warning travellers not to crack open a beer – or anything stronger – on London public transport network have already been put up.

Tickets will be rewritten from 1 June to bar passengers from carrying open bottles or cans of alcohol on buses, the Tube, the DLR or trams as part of the new Mayor Boris Johnson's drive to crack down on petty crime. Anyone caught drinking alcohol can be asked to stop or even thrown off if they refuse.

A new by-law that could impose fines for offenders is expected to be passed next year, making drinking on the transport network a criminal offence. Transport police, unions and alcohol charities welcomed the powers, arguing that most drinkers would comply with the ban.

The ban on drinking was a key manifesto pledge by Mr Johnson, who has made a war on crime a key plank of his first days in power at City Hall. Critics called the plans unworkable. The Liberal Democrat spokesman for London, Tom Brake, said: "There is no point introducing a law which everyone disregards and no one seeks to enforce. Boris Johnson must explain why this is something more than just a spin doctor's wheeze."

Mr Johnson said: "I'm determined to improve the safety and security of public transport in London and create a better environment for the millions of Londoners who rely on it. I firmly believe that if we drive out so-called minor crime then we will be able to get a firm grip on more serious crime."

Don Shenker, the chief executive of the charity Alcohol Concern, said: "Public drinking and the behaviour sometimes associated with it can, and does, deeply affect people's ability to enjoy public spaces. Taking a firm approach to public drinking in this way sends a strong message that public drunkenness is socially unacceptable, and will support both the public and transport staff."

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