Out on the town with Durham students as breathalysers rolled out

Twelve breathlysers are being used by door staff in the city as police try and crack down on pre-loading. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News

As police begin rolling out breathalysers to bars and nightclubs in the city, some Durham students have expressed their concerns.

Twelve yellow and black breathlysers are now being used by door staff in the city as police try and crack down on pre-loading, the culture of drinking alcohol at home before going out.

Students queueing to get into bars during Freshers Week gave us their opinions.

One said: “I am not impressed, with the cost of living crisis and us already paying nine thousand pounds in student loans and that is not going up. It’s five pounds a drink in there. It’s not going to help anyone.”

Others said they think it would lead to more people drinking in their rooms and not going out to bars and clubs.

Another said: "This is disguised as a health and safety hazard when really it is a money thing, the clubs just want to make more money.”

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News

Police say the move is not about increasing revenue for the city's bars and nightclubs and that the focus is on safety.

Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Clarke said: “I would like to reassure people it’s not about increasing revenue in bars, it’s about keeping people safe. I am not a kill joy or a mood sponge.

"I just want to make sure people come out and have a good night and make it to the end night and don’t become a burden on their friends on the door staff, the licensees and effectively the police."

The breathalysers work on a traffic light system with a red light indicating someone has reached a potentially harmful level of intoxication.

They may be refused entry or allowed in, with door staff keeping a closer eye on them.

Not everyone will be breathalysed and it will be down to door staff to judge who is tested.

Durham Constabulary say similar initiatives elsewhere in the country have resulted in a drop in violent crime.

Gary Churlish, head doorman at Jimmy Allens bar, in Elvet Bridge, said he was already seeing it making a positive impact.

He said: “It’s making things a lot easier so if we knock somebody back it’s turning it into more of a fact rather than an opinion.

"We can say 'mate, you have had too much to drink.' If he tries to argue that, we can show him the breathalyser and say 'yes you have'. It’s making our job easier.”

Other students we met were more on board with the idea, including one who said it would perhaps help stop vulnerable people being let into venues when they have had too much to drink.

She said: "When you are out on a night and you are trying to help someone you don’t really know because they are passed out on a toilet, you don’t really know what to do.

"This might save things and you know they are healthy and looked after. It’s definitely a good thing.”

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