POLICE are giving breathalysers to door staff at five Huddersfield bars and nightclubs as part of a drive to cut alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
Trained staff will be able to use the hand-held devices on revellers seeking to enter venues where there are concerns about the level of alcohol the person has already consumed.
The pilot scheme is being launched on Monday to coincide with the start of Huddersfield University’s Freshers’ Week.
The bars and nightclubs taking part in the pilot scheme are Tokyo’s, Mavericks, Kewz, Camel Club and 5 Bar.
The breathalysers will show a positive reading if the member of the public blows 70mg or over. the legal limit for driving is 35mg.
They were bought using funding from alcohol awareness courses, which offered an alternative to prosecution for the offence of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.
Sgt Andrew Lockwood, of Kirklees Police, said: “This pilot scheme is not about spoiling people’s fun but is actually designed to ensure that those enjoying the nightlife that Huddersfield has to offer are doing so safely.
“Each of the venues involved in the scheme are being encouraged to use the breathalysers at their discretion. It is not about having a blanket policy of breathalysing every person entering the bar or club, but it can be used where there are legitimate concerns that an individual or group are heavily intoxicated and posing a potential risk to themselves and others.
“Similarly to other towns and cities across the country, we do have issues with people ‘pre-loading’ by drinking large amounts of cheaper alcohol at home prior to coming in to the town centre.
“This can leave people vulnerable due to drinking large volumes of alcohol in a short period of time and has a knock-on effect on the night-time economy.
“Licensees and those working at licensed premises have responsibilities under the licensing act and should not be selling alcohol to those who are already heavily intoxicated. These devices give door staff an undisputable basis for refusing entry to their premises.
“Similar schemes elsewhere in the country have resulted in a reduction in alcohol-related incidents.”
Dave Biddle, owner of Camel Club, said: “We are happy to give this a go. Anything that can assist our door staff in doing their job is welcome and it is good to hear that police will be taking on our feedback at the end of the pilot.
“This will be an extra tool in our arsenal to turn someone away who is too drunk. It probably won’t be telling us something that we don’t already know but it will help our door staff to refuse entry without debate.
“We don’t want people coming down thinking they won’t get in if they have had one or two. At the end of the day if people can walk straight, hold a conversation and are just looking for a good time then we won’t be looking to stop you coming in.”
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “Anti-social behaviour, especially when excessive amounts of alcohol are involved can have a very negative impact on the communities of West Yorkshire.
“I very much welcome anything that can help reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents and help to ensure people enjoying the nightlife Huddersfield has to offer can have a great time.”
The breathalysers have been bought using funding from the Alcohol Awareness Course which was run in the district as an alternative to prosecution for the offence of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.
A sixth breathalyser will be retained by the police for use in checking bottles of ‘soft drinks’ for any alcohol content in designated areas and in the possession of under 18s.