Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire Talks: Should shop owners breathalyse people they believe may be too drunk to buy alcohol?

Following a new scheme which has been launched in Cardiff, shopkeepers in the city are now breathalysing customers as part of a crackdown on street drinking. But would such a scheme be effective in Lincolnshire?

Staff at shops in the Welsh capital were earlier this week given handheld breath-test devices by police and told to breathalyse anyone they believe may be over the limit.

They were then asked to turn away those who were too drunk to buy alcohol.

Photo: Anders Adermark

Reducing street drinking

The scheme was launched by police following a number of complaints about drunk behaviour on the streets.

It is believed that the breathalysers will deter those who are already drunk from buying more alcohol.

So far, two Spar stores in the Welsh city have been testing the devices to test whether it made it easier to refuse serving drunk customers.

Of the two stores, it has been confirmed that one store then bought a breathalyser after using the test-device over 100 times.

Would it work in Lincolnshire?

There are at this stage no plans to introduce such a scheme in Lincolnshire.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesperson said: “If a shop is licensed to sell alcohol in Lincolnshire it will be part of their licensing objectives not to do so to anyone who is drunk.

“Where we have evidence of shops or other alcohol outlets persistently selling to drinkers who cause ASB in the area we will be looking at their license to sell.

“It is also illegal to knowingly sell alcohol, or attempt to sell alcohol to a person who is drunk.

“Where street drinking is an identified issue the police have operations and plans in place to tackle it with partners.

“We have no plans to introduce such a scheme.”

Your thoughts

The suggestion certainly caused a great deal of controversy, with members of the You’re Probably From Lincoln If… having their say on the issue.

Marion Clawson Staines said: “I think it’s a good idea but if they’re drunk someone could get seriously hurt.

“Plus no small struggling business is going to turn away trade.”

Johnathan Walters added: “In theory great idea.

“Practically, will not work.”

Nicky Spriggs commented: “[Drunk customers will] just go to another shop, and another, and the poor staff will get nothing but abuse.”

David Chambers said: “They shouldn’t be required to breathalyse.

“They aren’t obliged to sell anyone anything at all though, so I suppose it’s up to the individual shopkeeper to use their judgement.

“I would oppose any legislation on the subject.”

Whilst this topic caused a great deal of discussion on the page, the sale of alcohol also came up, with many suggesting booze is too cheap to buy.

Jeremy Radcliffe said: “Being a non-drinker I seriously think that alcohol is far too cheap – Scotland is bringing in a minimum price structure and we should follow.

“Alcohol abuse is a huge blight on society and families.

“Breathalysing shoppers will lead to verbal and physical abuse to poorly paid shopworkers – solution? Minimum price and only sell in government licensed shops as happens in Scandinavia.”