Derbyshire coppers breathalyse youths

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Related tags: Underage drinking, Derbyshire

Police in Derbyshire have started breath-testing teenagers as part of an operation to tackle underage drinking.For the last two months officers in...

Police in Derbyshire have started breath-testing teenagers as part of an operation to tackle underage drinking.

For the last two months officers in the Erewash and Amber Valley have been using breathalysers and dip-stick test kits to check if teens have alcohol on their breath or hidden in soft drink bottles.

Youths deemed to be "at risk" from the quantity of alcohol consumed are escorted home and any booze is seized. The tests are done on a voluntary basis.

Sergeant Harry Dick, licensing officer for Erewash and Amber Valley, said: "The teams have now got breath-test kits and the idea is they carry them around with them. Underage drinking is an increasing problem for us."

The news follows last week's exclusive story in The Publican that revealed Kent police have been studying a scheme in Holland where teenagers are given a warning if found with alcohol on their breath.

A pilot scheme has also been given the go-ahead in Colwyn Bay, North Wales which will see teens face random breath-tests on street corners and parks. Licensees commenting on thepublican.com​ were largely opposed to idea, calling it "a waste of valuable police time".

Pubwatch committee member for Derbyshire Trevor Pepper said: "I think it's a gimmick. It will prove that they've had a drink but in terms of stopping underage drinking, I don't think it will do a thing."

But Pat Dawson of the Malt Loaf in Conwy - which will be affected by the North Wales trial - welcomed the proposals.

He said: "If they can reduce the problem with young people drinking, it's better for everybody else.

"This is a nice heritage town and there's young people outside drinking and taking over the bus shelter just up the road. In some places I'm sure it can put people off going out."

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