Blow in the bag or you’re not drinking here

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How would you react if you were on a night out and just about to walk into a pub, when a bouncer pulls you to one side and asks you to take a breathalyser test?

I imagine that, similar to many people, you may feel quite offended at this unusual request and may also think such a thing wouldn’t happen.

Well, it isn’t happening in this area, yet, but it is in Loughborough, in Leicestershire, as part of a project to reduce drink related crime in that area.

Recently, I was speaking to PC Mike Green, who is the officer running the scheme in partnership with several licensed premises.

I met him at Media City, in Manchester, where he was waiting to do his first live interview on BBC Breakfast television and he was quite surprised just how much interest was being taken into his relatively small initiative.

This may be because there is a fair bit of opposition to the scheme; especially from people who feel it may interfere with their inalienable right to get as drunk as they choose.

The way the scheme works is door staff are provided with police breathalyser machines, exactly the same type as used when they breathalyse a motorist.

They use their discretion as to which customers are asked to take the test but in general terms it’s the ones showing the most obvious signs of being overly drunk.

Rough guidance has been agreed that a reading of over twice the drink drive limit could indicate a customer is too drunk to be served further alcohol.

It remains the discretion of the door staff but a mixture of a high reading and drunken behaviours will result in the person being declined entry to the pub or club.

Some concerns have been raised that this may result in some women who were part of a group being left vulnerable and alone on the street but in reality that already happens.

I think the scheme has great potential, although not necessarily one to be operated rigidly every week of the year.

When people start to see others being refused entry to the most popular venues because they have given a high reading, there is a possibility it may make them think about how much they are drinking.

It would be interesting to see whether a similar scheme would have any impact on drunken behaviour in this area.