A BAN on drinking alcohol in public could be introduced in the whole of Abingdon in a bid to curb anti-social behaviour.

Thames Valley Police has asked the Vale of White Horse District Council to bring in an alcohol exclusion zone for the town.

It would give the police power to stop people drinking in a public place and to confiscate their alcohol if they are acting anti-socially. It would be an arrestable offence not to comply.

Chief Insp Phil Littlechild, who is the local police area commander of the Vale of White Horse, said: "What we found was mostly that alcohol is connected to some of our criminal damage, often by young people misusing alcohol.

"Either they attempt to buy alcohol themselves or ask others to buy the alcohol on their behalf and then they will sit and drink this alcohol and quickly become affected by it and go out and commit crimes."

The order is supported by the Vale of White Horse District Council, which will put it out to public consultation and write to licensees who are affected by the plan.

If approved, the order could be introduced by the spring.

Vale spokesman Nikki Malin said: "The police have analysed the current level of alcohol-related disorder in Abingdon. The report has been presented to the members of the council who are satisfied that there is evidence of alcohol-related nuisance and disorder to the public in the town.

"At this stage it is intended that the order be applied to the whole of Abingdon to help reduce the likelihood of displacing the problem to other areas of town, as has been experienced elsewhere."

Previous police attempts to curb anti-social behaviour in the town have seen dispersal orders introduced on town estates.

The first dispersal order, which gave officers the power to move on groups of people, was put in place on the Peachcroft estate in 2005.

It was lifted after 12 months and was hailed as a success.

Police figures revealed that 159 youths were dispersed. There were four arrests and an acceptable behaviour contract was given to one youth. Police said calls about anti-social behaviour fell by 36 per cent.

A second order was later implemented in Reynolds Way, Palmer Place, Cotman Close and the Poets estate south of the River Ock.

Sgt Andy Cranidge assured people that non-troublemakers would not be targeted. He said: "The whole point of the zone is that it's going to deal with people who are being anti-social while using alcohol. People who aren't behaving in that sort of way won't be subject to the conditions of the designated zone."

Sgt Cranidge added that the trouble hot-spots that would be targeted by police officers would be the town centre and parks.