Breathalysers introduced at York pubs to tackle violence

By Naomi Larsson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: North yorkshire police, Alcohol intoxication, York, Alcoholic beverage

Breathalysers have been given to door staff to prevent people who have had too much to drink from getting into bars and pubs
Breathalysers have been given to door staff to prevent people who have had too much to drink from getting into bars and pubs
Pubs in York have been given breathalysers to reduce alcohol-related trouble in the city.

In a new scheme by North Yorkshire police, nine devices were trialled at venues on the weekend of 9 January and a further six will be trialled this weekend.

The breathalysers have been given to door staff to prevent people who have had too much to drink from getting into bars and pubs.

Police maintain not everyone will be breathalysed, just those who are suspected of being too drunk. Door staff will still use their judgement on an individual’s level of intoxication and whether they can enter the premises.

According to North Yorkshire police, an alcohol reading of twice the drink drive limit or higher could “greatly increase the chances of someone being refused entry”.

'Tackling drink-related violence'

Acting inspector Andy Godfrey of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: "The breathalysers are another tool to help us tackle drink-related disorder and violence.

"Much of the disorder and violence we are called to deal with is triggered by excessive alcohol intake. Being drunk and out of control also makes people more vulnerable. The breathalysers will support door staff in the difficult job of challenging people who they believe have drunk too much.”

He added: "So far, the devices have been well received by local licensees and we hope they will have a positive impact on York's thriving nightlife."

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Don't throw the baby out with the bath water

Posted by Mark Worthington,

The idea of supplying door staff with breathalysers is one that often receives a mixed reaction from the trade. So long as it is being used responsibly then there is no threat to the trade, and in fact it can be used positively for the trade. Some areas have implemented it as an additional tool for door staff to use, as Gavin says it can reduce conflict on the door, there should be no set limit, it is for the door staff to determine who is or is not allowed into a premises and this tool will assist, in some circumstances, to gauge level of intoxication to help them in their decision making process. If accompanied by a positive media strategy it could actually increase margins for the on-trade as youngsters may think twice about how much they pre-load before they go out, if they think they may not get into their favourite bar.

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Posted by Dave Daly,

I have managed without breathalysers for the last 40years in a large managed fun pub. To start giving agency doorman the power to stop and breathalyse without proper training could lose managers and staff their livelihoods due to people not going in to venues. All town centre pubs and restaurants should be blanketed with breathalyser including off licences if this is going to work. You will then see town centres decline and people moving into other areas. I do see the point of continuously troublesome pubs being targeted. If pub cos and local authorities made sure that town centre licensees could not run their premises without 5 years experience in the licensing trade that would be a good starting point. The personal licence is not worth the paper it is written on, anyone can obtain one. I am off to practise asking people to blow into a tube and I wonder what reaction I will get!

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Don't miss the point

Posted by Gavin Tempest,

What has worked is the venue being equipped with the breath kit so that there is less room for dispute when someone appears to show signs of drunkenness. Only premises who use Door Supervisors to screen entry. Less conflict and better customers.
The thin end of the 'police' wedge could in time be an alternative to closure in circumstances when premises were subject to a review for permitting drunkenness. Hasn't happened anywhere yet and if it did that might well be proportionate if it meant the business staying open.

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