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Officers in Basingstoke tackling drink-related violence launch initiative this festive season - a first for Hampshire Constabulary

News   •   Dec 20, 2018 07:00 GMT

PCSO Lee Gardner with one of the devices

Officers tackling drink-related violence in Basingstoke have launched a new initiative this festive season.

We have joined forces with local bars and clubs in a bid to make this Christmas party season safer for everyone.

Festive revellers will be randomly breathalysed by door staff at the venues participating and could be turned away if they are deemed too intoxicated.

It is a first for Hampshire Constabulary and if it proves a success the aim is to roll it out throughout the county.

Figures show that around a third of assaults in the town area are linked to the night-time economy over the weekends.

So Basingstoke’s neighbourhood policing and licensing teams have been working to support licencees of bars and clubs in the town, to get these numbers down.

This initiative sees four breathalysers shared around local venues so that door staff can carry out breath tests on those who appear to have had too much to drink.

If someone exceeds the limit, which will be set around twice the drink driving limit, they may be refused entry.

It follows similar schemes across the country, which successfully helped to reduce the level of drink-related crime in city centres.

The first tests were carried out on December 7 and 8 and a total of 24 people were breathalysed in the town and has been well received by customers.

Out of these people, five were turned away for being above the limit and during that weekend only one incident reported to us was linked to the night-time economy.

Inspector Richard Lane said: “We want people to continue going out in Basingstoke to enjoy the festive celebrations.

"Basingstoke already boasts Purple Flag status, which means it is recognised for offering a safe and enjoyable night out, so we are hoping this scheme will make is even better.

“But sadly while the majority of us can enjoy ourselves in a safe and jovial atmosphere, sometimes there are those in the minority who come to our attention.

“We may issue warnings to those under the influence of alcohol and ask the worst offenders to leave the town centre.

“So these random breath tests will support door staff and licensees identifying those who may go on to cause issues, dealing with any confrontation at the point of entry and help them to better gauge how much alcohol someone has had.

He added: “As you can see from the results of the first weekend, the introduction of the breathalysers proved a success and was welcomed by venues and their customers.”