Breathalysers issued to Ropewalks bars

Clubbers in Liverpool's Ropewalks area may be asked to take a breath test before they are served after door supervisors were provided with breathalysers by the council.

The Citysafe initiative is part of a new campaign called "Say No to Drunks" which aims to stop people who have had too much to drink being served further alcohol.

"Say No to Drunks" has been developed to raise awareness that it is illegal to serve anybody who appears to be drunk and to ensure that the law is observed.

Bar staff who serve people who are drunk could be issued with a £90 fixed penalty notice and if it goes to court the fine could be up to £1,000 on conviction. Premises could also have their licence reviewed.

Around 25 bars and clubs in Ropewalks have agreed to take part in the pilot scheme which is being launched at Soho Bar in Concert Square from 4.30pm on Thursday 23 October.

The move highlights the ongoing tension between residents and bar operators within the city centre, which has seen discussions over how to ensure limited noise pollution while developing the night-time economy.

The breathalysers, which are similar to devices used by the police, will only be used sparingly by bar staff on customers who they believe have had too much to drink and are one of a number of tests which can be applied for judging whether they should be served.

Cllr Roz Gladden, deputy Mayor and cabinet member for social care and health said: "Unfortunately, you can see people worse for wear through drink in Liverpool's night time economy. We know that people 'preloading' – drinking before they go out – significantly adds to this problem.

"It is important that we try and reduce the levels of drunkenness, not only for the sake of individuals' health but because of the impact it has on A&E departments in hospitals across the city at weekends in particular. Alcohol misuse costs Liverpool an estimated £204m each year."

Superintendent Mark Wiggins from Merseyside Police, said: "This pilot scheme isn't aimed at those who drink responsibly – it's there to help identify the small minority of people who have had too much alcohol and could end up being a danger either to themselves or others."

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By John

It’s relevant if you’re planning on doing a resi development in the city centre. Less vomit on doorsteps hopefully!

By City dweller

If the test (as indicated) is to avoid serving to people "who APPEAR to be drunk", how does a breathalyser help? All it does is confirm blood alcohol levels, which don’t necessarily reflect whether someone is incapacitated or not. Sounds to me like another means of avoiding careful judgement and experience in favour of a black or white determination. Suppose it stops bartenders getting sued though, that’s the main thing.

By Steve