Breath testing in Loughborough nightclubs causes controversy

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Zoë Conville

A six-week pilot scheme to breath test club and pub goers in Loughborough is set to end on Monday, November 3.

Door staff in the town were given breath testing kits last month to use in instances where they feel a customer has had too much drink.

So far the scheme has had mixed reviews from the public.

Maths and Computer Science student at Loughborough University, Aiden Lugg, 19, said: “I can’t see any positives. What is going to be achieved from breathalysing people if it’s at the bouncers’ discretion anyway?

“They have the power to eject and reject people if they’re too drunk, so it’s not really going to change anything.

“Breathalysing people will only increase queuing times which is a prime location for fights to break out. It’s just using up a lot of money and resources that we do not have.”

Police and the borough council hope the trial will help reduce admittances to hospital due to alcohol as well as anti-social behaviour.

Civil Engineering student at Loughborough University, Thomas Sharman, 21, says: “I think it’s a good idea. It could reduce the amount people drink on a night out, so there could be fewer drunk and disorderly incidents.

“It’s good that it’s down to the bouncers’ discretion too because if people are more affected than others they can be turned away before they get even more drunk.

“People could cause a bit of trouble if they don’t get let in, but as they get used to the idea that they can only drink so much before they go out I think people will be less likely to drink as much on a night out.”

The scheme suggests customers are turned away if the breath test shows they are double the drink drive limit, however pubs and clubs are allowed to set their own limit about what is acceptable for entry.

PC Mike Green, co-ordinator of the initiative, told the BBC: “Some people can see the potential benefits and some people perhaps don’t fully understand what we are doing and why.

“Some people didn’t like the fact that they were being turned away from something that’s new but hopefully people will start to understand what we are doing and won’t be so negative.”

The scheme, which has also been trialled in Norwich, will be reviewed at the beginning of November before the police consider using it in other towns and cities across the UK.

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