20 June 2016
Dorset Police, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Weymouth Business Improvement District (BID) are working with partners in a new scheme to reduce alcohol-related crime in Weymouth town centre.
The “RU2Drunk” scheme will provide pubs, bars and clubs with a breathalyser, allowing each location to set an alcohol limit and refuse entry to people who give a reading that exceeds it. The scheme will initially run in thirty licensed premises, which will individually decide on an acceptable limit for their venue.
The initiative was developed by sociologists from the University of Exeter, who collaborated with police, and has already been trialled across Devon and Cornwall with successful results.
A pilot in Torquay over the busy Christmas period saw a 39 per cent reduction in violent crime in the town’s busiest night spots. Almost one in four of the perpetrators of violent crime in Dorset in the last twelve months were affected by alcohol, so this scheme aims to replicate similar positive reductions.
In particular, empowering premises to breathalyse visitors aims to cut down the number of people “pre-loading”. This practice sees individuals drinking excessively at home before arriving at their destination for the evening.
While the number of drinks purchased in a premise can be monitored by trained and responsible staff, establishments previously had no way of determining how much alcohol had been consumed before arrival.
Neighbourhood Inspector for Weymouth, Pete Browning, said: “The RU2Drunk project is a tried and tested scheme. It aims to prevent people who consume high levels of alcohol before coming out into the town from causing anti-social behaviour and impacting on those who want to enjoy their nights responsibly.
“This is part of a continuing drive to make Weymouth an ever more family-friendly place, which is safe for everyone, and I am really pleased to see all the partners working together on this pilot.”
The project will be funded jointly by Weymouth BID and the OPCC. Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, commented: “I am keen to support innovative schemes such as the RU2Drunk campaign, as this links in with a number of priorities identified by the public, including reducing the number of victims of crime.
“The scheme particularly seeks to address the behaviour of a certain minority of people who cause anti-social behaviour. I have no doubt that this pilot will be a further positive step forward for Weymouth, which is why I am providing funding to support its introduction.”
Steve Newstead, Chair of Weymouth BID, added: “Weymouth BID is fully supportive of this scheme, which has been successful elsewhere.
“The BID business plan includes investment in the night-time economy for all visitors and residents to have a good night out and this scheme supports that aim.”
Reducing violent crime and anti-social behaviour are integral parts of the scheme’s aspiration to make Weymouth a safer place, where people can continue to enjoy an eclectic mix of pubs, clubs and bars.
Chair of ‘Pub Watch’ in the town, Keith Treggiden, added: “Weymouth Pub Watch continue to work with Dorset Police in making every effort to keep Weymouth a safe place.
“RU2Drunk is a valuable tool to help us kerb excessive pre-loading. It is about understanding that clubs and bars have to deal with the issues of people coming out late after drinking excessively at home.
“We continue to look at ways to bring people out earlier, not only to reduce alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour, but also to give licensed premises the chance to get a better trade during the day time. This will help to reduce the threat of closure for valued local businesses.”
All those enjoying Weymouth’s night life will also be reminded of the dangers of drinking or taking drugs and driving. Dorset Police’s summer drink drive campaign will continue to run until 10 July 2016, during which time all drivers involved in road traffic collisions will be asked to complete a breath test. More information about this campaign is available on the Dorset Police website.
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