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Students May Be Breathalysed On Entry to Fab

Pedestrians cross Bristol Road in Selly Oak
Pedestrians cross Bristol Road in Selly Oak • Photograph: Mille Guy

Fab, and a number of shops and pubs in Selly Oak may soon start breathalysing patrons before allowing them entry, it has been announced. Door staff will be equipped with police breathalyser kits to test any customer that they believe may be too intoxicated.

Door staff are likely to refuse entry to any customer who measures double the drink-drive limit or more, using kits provided by the police. The plan is expected to help enforce a law which states that pubs and shops should not provide alcohol to anyone deemed too drunk. Additionally, the West Midlands Police have suggested it can be used as a tool to make customers consider the amount of alcohol they are drinking.

Frankie Greenwell, the Guild of Students Vice President (Welfare), said the scheme is being introduced to ‘reduce the number of students who become victims of violent crime whilst being under the influence of alcohol. This is a police initiative designed to lower crime in the local area… we hope that this will mean that when people leave an event at the Guild they are aware enough of their surroundings to not walk home alone and to return home safely.’

Explaining how the scheme will work, Greenwell said that, for the first few weeks, students will be offered the chance to take a breathalyser test in an attempt for them to see how well they can measure their alcohol intake. Then, ‘after the initial 3 week period we will be moving one of the breathalysers, to be used by the door staff managing the queue and we will select people at random (1 in every 100) to blow into it.’

The scheme has already been rolled out in other student areas around the country, including in Loughborough and Nottingham. Greenwell stated ‘this scheme was trialled for an 8 week period in other areas, leading to a 32% reduction in violent crime in the area and a 66% reduction in drunk and disorderly calls the police received’

The plan is likely to have a significant impact on student activities and events in the area, with students and societies participating in bar crawls likely to be turned away en-route. However, Greenwell states the breathalyser tests ‘are not there to ban fun or to stop you from coming in!’

Sergeant Williams told the Birmingham Mail, ‘We have seen a pattern between the end of October and December of increases in public place violence linked to alcohol… This has proved to be a very effective tool where it has been used elsewhere in the country in making people think about the amount of alcohol they have consumed.’

Update: Selly Oak police told Redbrick that the scheme will apply to all pubs and bars in the Selly Oak area including the University, and that breathalysing will not be enforced by the police themselves. They said that the plans are a safety measure to ensure students ‘aren’t too drunk’ when entering pubs and bars in the local area.


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