Thu, 23 Feb 2017
BOOZY revellers could be asked to take a breath test before entering some pubs and bars, as police look to make Newbury a safer place to be on a night out.
The new scheme, funded by Thames Valley Police, will also see bodycams issued to door staff at a range of licensed premises in the town centre.
Police say the move will help to identify people who may become “vulnerable” during a night out, while also clamping down on alcohol-related disorder.
Inspector Matt Lugg from Newbury Police Station said: “It’s all about getting people home safely.
“It’s about being able to identify the people that may be vulnerable and taking action if needed.”
There have been a number of incidents in the town centre recently, including two separate assaults outside the Slug and Lettuce pub, while earlier this month 22-year-old Thomas Britzman was sentenced to two years in jail for a vicious assault outside the Diamond Tap pub last June.
However, police said the measures are not being introduced in response to any local incidents in particular.
Thames Valley Police has purchased seven handheld breath test machines and seven bodycams, which will be handed out to select town centre pubs and bars in the coming weeks.
Revellers suspected of having had too much to drink could be asked to submit a breath test by door staff before entry to the venue.
Insp Lugg said the equipment will be given to the town’s busier venues, adding: “We’re not saying they can’t let them in – that’s at their discretion – but it’s about spotting potentially-vulnerable people early.
“We will expect the venues to use the equipment.
“They’ve been bought for them to use and if they are not using them we’ll be asking why not.”
Speaking about the bodyworn cameras, he added: “They are there to help everyone.
“People make complaints to us about being assaulted either inside or outside the venues, or sometimes even by members of staff, so this will also help us in terms of prosecutions.”
However, Insp Lugg was keen to stress the measures are being introduced to safeguard those on a night out, rather than for law enforcement reasons.
As part of the scheme, Thames Valley Police invited local businesses to a training event at Newbury Racecourse on Tuesday to help those involved in the night-time industry identify people who may be putting themselves in a vulnerable postion.
Insp Lugg said: “We had a lot of people come along from fast food restaurants, takeaways, taxi drivers, pubs and bars and doorstaff, and we wanted to get the message across that, yes, the police are there trying to safeguard people, but it’s everyone’s responsibility.
“We’ve all seen the person rolling around on the floor drunk, but that’s obvious to recognise.
“It’s about recognising the less obvious signs and encouraging people to be confident enough to ask a question and intervene if necessary.”