Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BREATH TESTS AT THE DOOR FOR CLUBBERS; REVELLERS TO FACE CHECKS IN POLICE CRACKDOWN ON DRUNKEN VIOLENCEClub Boss: B-Tests Fine If the Limit's Not Too Low; KILLJOYS OR A GOOD IDEA? THE VIEWS AMONG CLUBBERS

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BREATH TESTS AT THE DOOR FOR CLUBBERS; REVELLERS TO FACE CHECKS IN POLICE CRACKDOWN ON DRUNKEN VIOLENCEClub Boss: B-Tests Fine If the Limit's Not Too Low; KILLJOYS OR A GOOD IDEA? THE VIEWS AMONG CLUBBERS

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Davenport Crime Editor

CLUBBERS face being breathalysed before they are allowed entry into London venues as part of a crackdown on drinkrelated violence.

Police and clubs are launching a pilot scheme that will enable doormen to breath-test people they suspect are intoxicated -- so they can bar drunks from entry.

The limit for testing positive will be set at about twice the drink-driving level. Officers hope the scheme will cut down on binge drinking and "pre-loading", where young people get drunk on cheap booze before going out.

The measure is one of several initiatives being launched by the Metropolitan Police in an effort to tackle rising rates of violent crime in London. The force's Operation Equinox targets pubs, nightclubs and fast-food outlets.

The drink checks were tested in a small number of clubs in Croydon and the Met now plans a more organised pilot scheme in six London boroughs.

Chief Inspector Gary Taylor said anecdotal evidence from Croydon clubs showed that the test was a success. "They have told us that the move did help to reduce violence and confrontations involving door staff," he added.

"The breathalysers helped to stop people persistently trying to get into clubs when they'd clearly drunk too much. "The devices help reduce the number of arguments when door staff refuse entry to someone who is intoxicated. In the past, door staff would get involved in long arguments with people who were refused entry. People arguing with staff were more likely to accept the results of the breathalyser."

Nightclub impresario Mark Fuller, who set up the Embassy Club in Mayfair, welcomed the breathalyser initiative in principle but advised police not to set the test limit too low.

"It's an excellent idea," he said. "Most violence in clubs is from people who've drunk too much and this will create a level playing field. It is a bit Big Brother-ish but it will be one rule for all.

"If you get someone with loads of money who is completely pissed then they don't get it.

"But the opinion of the authorities on alcohol levels compared with what an average person consumes in a night is quite adrift. …

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