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Burton MP and publican discuss plan to breath test venue customers

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 15, 2014

By Rob Smyth

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DRINKERS could face being breathalysed at pubs and clubs in Burton under a new initiative put forward to make the town safer.

Jed White, Staffordshire Police’s licensing manager, is set to propose the plans to landlords and bar owners as part of a bid to raise awareness about the amount of alcohol people are drinking before and during a night out.

The idea comes from a successful operation run in Norwich, which saw door staff using breathalysers to determine whether drinkers were sober enough to enter premises.

The proposals have so far been met with a lukewarm response by politicians and publicans in Burton who argue that, while filled with ‘good intentions’, the plans could be harmful to the industry if introduced.

Insp White said: “I am looking at broaching the idea of using breathalysers in Burton following the success of a similar operation in Norwich last year.

“I am hoping to be able to bring it to the town and I am looking to put my proposals to the pub and club industry in Burton in the coming weeks.”

Bill Ganley, who runs the Grange Inn, in Casey Lane, and the Old Cottage Tavern, in Byrkley Street, said he saw ‘good and bad’ sides to the plan.

He said: “The idea is very good in principle but I do see some potential issues to it.

“At what point do you refuse someone entry? I like to look people in the eye and talk to them in a bid to judge if they have had too many drinks.

“I would also say that if more training was given to bar and door staff, a system like this might not be needed.

“I respect any idea that makes the town a safer place but I think there could be a better way to do something like this.”

Town MP Andrew Griffiths feared that the plan could end up driving people away from visiting their local pub.

He said: “While I can see the merits of a scheme that looks to make the night-time economy safer, I could see this putting off people from coming a drink in a pub or club.

“It could damage the night-time economy. I want the town to be safe for people but think that this could be a step too far.”

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