Birmingham clubs to breathalyse people on the door and turn away anyone already drunk

Police are cracking down on pre-drinking in an effort to lower crime rates

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The Independent Online

Pub-goers and clubbers in Birmingham could be breathalysed before getting into the city’s biggest nightspots as police crack down on pre-drinking.

More than 40 bars, pubs and clubs have signed up to the scheme that will see staff armed with “Alco-Blow” tubes on the door.

Anyone found to be already drunk will be turned away in an effort to reduce fights, crime and disorder at the weekend.

Police said the rise of “pre-loading” for a cheaper night out is creating a vicious circle where clubs losing money put on drinks promotions that lead to more drunkenness.

West Midlands Police are trying to stop fights and other alcohol-related incidents

Sergeant Dave Francis, from Central Birmingham Police, said: “In recent years we’ve seen an explosion in pre-loading culture - people coming into the city already drunk and even getting out of taxis holding bottles of wine and vodka and downing them before going into clubs.

“Obviously when people are heavily drunk they are a danger to themselves and more likely to get caught up in rows or fights.”

In 2013, a trial of breathalysing people on entry in Norwich was found to reduce the number of incidents by a third.

Anyone found by the Alco-Blow detector to be over twice the legal drink-drive limit can be refused entry.

Sgt Dave Francis and PC Matt Ward with the 'blow stick'

Unlike traditional road tests, clubbers blow into the device from inches away rather than touching it, saving time and money.

The tubes can also be held over the top bottles to check if the contents are alcoholic – scuppering the trick of hiding alcohol in soft drinks bottles.

Sergeant Francis said police were not specifying how many people should be tested or if entry should always be refused.  Staff will not record people’s names, with only age, gender, time and the reading going on logs.

“People who ‘pre-load’ are no benefit for clubs as within half an hour of being allowed in they are likely to be drunk, don’t spend money at the bar and are more likely to get into trouble,” Sergeant Francis said.

The breathalyser only needs people to blow on it to check alcohol levels

“We want people to know that if they are coming into town drunk and want to head to the big party venues there is a good chance they will be tested and potentially turned away – ending their night before it’s really begun.”

The records will be used to monitor statistics on the groups likely to drink excessively for police and the council to reduce anti-social behaviour.

If successful, the scheme could be rolled out in other UK cities.