Breathalyser scheme serves up mixed views

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Breathalyser in use in Liverpool. Pic by Emily Lewis © JMU Journalism

Breathalyser in use in Liverpool. Pic by Emily Lewis © JMU Journalism

There have been mixed reviews for breathalysers introduced in a number of Liverpool pubs and clubs last weekend which are aimed at stopping drunk people from entering premises.

The trial, which is running every Friday and Saturday until Christmas, is part of the campaign ‘Say No To Drunks’. It sees bar-goers take a breath test for alcohol levels, before entry to a number of pubs and clubs in the city, including popular Concert Square bars, Soho and Modo.

Partyers will have to have alcohol levels less than 70 mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, which is double the legal driving limit to be allowed entry. If people test over, they won’t be allowed in.

Gary Baskott, from the alcohol and tobacco division of Liverpool Trading Standards, told JMU Journalism: “The idea is to encourage extra door control, to address the issue of people who are ‘preloading’ before they go out. Anything that helps the door staff to make an initial intervention will help.”

“It’s the real top end people who are causing the problem, becoming victims of violence, committing violence themselves.

The initiative is also warning bar staff and their employers that they could face a fine of between £90 and £1000 if convicted in court of serving people over the limit.

Modo’s general manager, Paul McGee, was sceptical about the initiative. He told JMU Journalism: “Within this area, you get a lot of out of towners, many of which may not be aware of the scheme. It will be interesting to see if there are any issues.”

However McGee acknowledged some uses for the breathalysers, adding: “Bars should be able to subjectively know who drunk and who’s not.

“In ways, it does assist some of the door staff because you get them at that point and then you breathalyse them – so it’s a reason rather than just turning round and saying no. If you just say no there might be confrontation.”

Police officers have also been told to use the equipment on people they believe to be over the limit.

James Scott, an 18-year-old student, believes the scheme could lead to different problems, telling JMU Journalism: “If people like the clubs enough to still want to go, they’ll turn away from alcohol and potentially do more drugs because if they can’t drink they will look for alternatives.”

Salesman Richard Lane, 49, was more positive about the trial, telling JMU Journalism: “It’ll stop them drinking too much and then driving home, won’t it?”

Additional reporting by Jonny Coupe and Connor Dunn

About Dan Goulding, JMU Journalism