Breath test bid to end resort binge drinking
ANEW tool in the quest to stop binge drinking and unruly behaviour is being trialled in Llandudno this Christmas.
From tomorrow (Friday), as part of Operation Mistletoe, door staff at Club 147 and Fountains in the town will be able to breathalyse anyone they suspect of being too drunk to behave responsibly.
Aaron Haggas, North Wales Police’s licensing officer says the early evidence suggests it could reduce problems caused by heavy drinking.
“It’s just a pilot and let’s see how venues find the process,” he told the Weekly News. “In other areas where it has been used they have seen a reduction in crime and disorder and drunken disorderly behaviour.
“Hopefully it will encourage people not to preload before a night out.”
PC Mike Smith, West Conwy Partnerships Officer, says not everyone will have to give a breath sample.
“It’s the normal driving breathalyser,” he said. “We would suggest that if people are three times over the drink driving limit (around 100microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath) then that would be a good benchmark.”
PC Smith was keen to stress this should not be used as a way of seeing if people were fit to drive home.
“If the door supervisors are suspicious they can request the person to take the breathalyser test and judge by the reading in comparison to the drink drive limit whether they are safe to be allowed entry or not,” he explained.
“It will not be used as a method for people to check and see if they can drive home. The message to people having a night out is to leave the car at home.”
Richard Lewis and John Potter are directors of Guardian Protection Unit which covers the doors at Club 147.
“It’s definitely a good bargaining tool,” said Richie. “It’s a way of diffusing an argument when someone is arguing that they have not been drinking.”
“It’s just reducing that confrontation with customers,” said John. “It makes it a lot quicker and a lot more effective, rather than arguing for 20 minutes with someone.”
The breathalysers are just one of a host of ideas being used as part of Operation Mistletoe.
Taxi marshalls will be keeping queues orderly and handing out water to keep people hydrated and pubwatch will be utilising a new communication system.
Refusal at one premises or involvement in a disturbance will mean troublemakers will not gain entry to any premises in Llandudno, Conwy, Llandudno Junction or Colwyn Bay.
Dispersal notices will also be used in the event of anti-social behaviour. Anyone asked to leave and stay away from an area, then breaks the order, could be arrested and be taken into custody.
Yet the wish from PC Smith is for people to enjoy themselves.
“It’s about keeping people safe this Christmas,” he said. “There’s so many people going out to have a nice night. We want them to have a nice night in peace. It’s about police, PCSOs door staff and taxi marshalls all in pertnership.
Aaron Haggas (licensing officer North Wales Police), Richie Lewis (director Guardian Protection Unit), PC Mike Smith (West Conwy Partnerships Officer), John Potter (director Guardian Protection Unit), Jamie Bradbury (manager Club 147) Mike Noden...