Paul Winter guest column: Police back pub breathalyser scheme

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The news that pubs and clubs in Mansfield are set to breathalyse drinkers has caused a bit of a stir.

We are supporting the Are You Trollied? initiative by giving guidance and training to door staff and by supplying additional police officers in the centre.

We believe it will be a strong tool in making the town centre even more safe in the evenings.

You already know through our Alliance Against Violence campaign that we take a zero tolerance to alcohol related violence. This is another tactic we can use to ensure responsible drinking.

Are You Trollied? came about as a result of feedback received from Norwich Constabulary who have seen a 21 per cent reduction in people pre-loading (drinking before going out) and a reduction in alcohol-related violence after using breathalysers.

Rest assured door staff at the 12 venues participating in the scheme in Mansfield won’t be testing every single customer that comes through the doors. The breathalysers are there as a tool to stop the confrontation that can be caused when someone is refused entry to a venue because they appear drunk.

Instead of an argument escalating door staff can use the test to show how inebriated a person is.

Some critics have expressed concern that this is a money making scheme for venues. I strongly disagree.

Licensed premises have a duty of care under the licensing act to monitor and regulate how much alcohol their customers are consuming.

On a typical night if people drink alcohol in bars rather than alcohol purchased from shops their consumption of alcohol is monitored in a supervised environment.

Think about it this way: a person could enter a supermarket one night buy 24 cans of lager, take them home and drink them, then go off to a nightclub with no questions being asked around who the alcohol was for and what they are doing with it.

The next night if the same person went out early and tried to buy 24 glasses of beer and consume them in a pub then they would be questioned by the bar staff who are likely not to sell them to him or her and then he/she would be monitored by staff within the bar.

This scheme is about encouraging responsible drinking and giving businesses the tools to prevent incidents escalating when they challenge someone around their drunkenness.

While we are talking about Mansfield Town Centre you might have seen that Purple Flag assessors are set to return in the next few weeks.

Purple Flag is an accreditation scheme that recognises excellence in the management of town centres at night.

Inspectors came to Mansfield in April and gave very positive feedback. They have been now invited back to see further good work in support of the application.

During the next inspection the steering group behind the application are asking people to shout out about the best things in Mansfield.

Email your comments using the subject or #loveMansfield to, tweet using @yourMPAC or @Mansfield_BID or write them down and send them to Mansfield BID, Town Hall, Market Place, Mansfield NG18 1HX.