Breathalysers to be deployed in city centre to tackle culture of revellers ‘pre-loading’ with alcohol

Door staff at bars and nightclubs in Durham City are being equipped with breathalysers to check on revellers alcohol levels before entering their premises.

The initiative has been launched to tackle the culture of people “pre-loading” with drinks before going out and therefore giving them a better chance to make more informed decisions on a night out.

Several venues have started using the devices in the last week, which act as a guide for staff when knowing who to allow inside.

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The initiative, which has been funded by Durham Constabulary’s Safer Streets scheme and Durham Parish Council, has been implemented elsewhere in the country in recent years, resulting in a significant drop in violent crime.

The breathalysers operate on a lights system and the accepted level is based on people enjoying a sociable drink and will indicate if potentially unsafe levels of intoxication have been reached.

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Durham Constabulary Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Clarke said: “We are committed to making sure people are safe when they are on a night out.

“Sadly, time and again we see the negative effects alcohol has on people, whether it be through violence against others, anti-social behaviour or not being aware of their surroundings.

Breathalysers are being deployed to door staff in Durham City centre to enable them to see if revellers have "pre-loaded" on alcohol before going out.

“Not everyone will be breathalysed, it will be down to door staff to judge those individuals who might benefit from not drinking any more that night.

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“We want everyone to have a great night, but we also want to make sure they make it home safely, and without causing any disruption to residents.”

The breathalysers are part of a wider initiative to make the city centre a safer place for people on a night out which has also included setting up a Safety Hub at St Nicholas Church to provide support to people who may be vulnerable or feeling unwell.

Welfare officers are also being stationed in clubs and bars and plans are being put in place for Street Friends’ volunteers to give drinkers support.

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Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen said: “This initiative is a welcome addition to our night-time economy and a step in the right direction for keeping our revellers safe.

“I hope that we will be able to follow the example of other areas who have introduced the breathalysers, in reducing violent crime incidences on our streets.”