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A Red Light Stops Your Night - Brighton Breathalyser Project
The 'Red Light Stops Your Night' project began in 2015 after concerns were raised about an increase in the number of arguments that happen at the door of late-night licenced premises when individuals are turned away for being too drunk.
As part of the project, venues rent a breathalyser unit which allow door supervisors to make evidence-based judgements on who is too drunk to enter a licensed premises in a non-confrontational manner. It also gives additional protection to venues who are concerned about inadvertently selling alcohol to somebody who is already drunk.
The breathalysers are robust and easy to use. The individual is asked to blow into the sampling cone (because there is no physical contact with the device there are no hygiene issues) and within seconds a coloured light appears, with a beep tone, to indicate whether that sample contained an excess of alcohol. The system then quickly clears itself so that it is ready to test another subject.
The BCRP does not encourage using breathalysers as a 'right-of-entry' but simply as an extra tool for door supervisors to use should the need arise to help prevent anti-social behaviour and avoid uneccessary confrontations.
The on-the-spot 'evidence' provided by the breathalysers often defuses any argument from the client that they are not too drunk and gives an incontrovertible reason why the client cannot enter the venue.
An increase in violent incidents in the night-time economy in Brighton and a recent focus on preventing sexual assaults and protecting vulnerable people in pubs and clubs has highlighted the role alcohol and pre-loading (consuming alcohol before leaving home) plays in such incidents.
Changes to the way the night-time economy is policed, adjusted shift patterns for Mobile Support Units (MSUs) and increases in BCRP radio transmissions during the 2am-6am period indicates that drinking behaviour is changing. People are going out much later, having pre-loaded, and drink until four or five in the morning leading to an increase in anti-social behaviour and alcohol fuelled crime in the early hours of the morning.
The BCRP has received numerous reports from venues that their biggest problems arise from individuals who are being refused entry because door supervisors have deemed them to be too intoxicated to enter the premises. These individuals often deny their level of intoxication, start arguments, make threats, refuse to leave the premises and generally prevent door supervisors from doing their job.
The main benefit of providing an evidence-based reason for denying entry into pubs and clubs to people who are visibly intoxicated is a reduction in alcohol fuelled crime. Research shows that 50% of 18-35 years 'pre-load' before a night out and pre-loading makes an individual over twice as likely to be involved in violence either as a victim or an offender.