Clubbers and pubgoers in Northampton who appear to be drunk are to be breathalysed and may be refused entry if they are found to be more than twice the legal limit for driving.
The new scheme is a joint initiative between Northamptonshire Police and Pubwatch to try to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder in Northampton town centre.
As a condition of entry, a number of pubs and bars in the town will now be breathalysing people if they appear to be drunk.
If people are found to be over the limit of 80 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath, which is more than twice the limit for driving which is 35 microgrammes, they may be refused entry.
Police are basing the scheme on a similar campaign in Norwich last Christmas which was greeted with support by members of the public, and helped achieve a 32 per cent reduction in violent crime in the town.
Sergeant Mark Worthington, who has been working with Pubwatch to start the scheme, said: “All too often people preload at home on cheap alcohol and are drunk before they even reach the town centre.
“They now face having to provide a specimen of breath to gain access to licensed premises; if they are found to be drunk already, they will be refused entry.
“We are working closely with door staff to ensure this new scheme is embedded and becomes normal practice.”
Karim Ayoubi, Chair of Pubwatch, said many people were found to be very drunk before they entered pubs and clubs as a result of “preloading”, leading to problems for that person later on in the evening.
He said: “We want our customers to have a good time, but also to be aware of the effect of drinking too much, too quickly. As we all know, it can catch up with you all of a sudden later on in the evening.
“This is a really pro-active campaign by our members to tackle alcohol-related issues, even at a time when the number of alcohol-related incidents in town at night is at ten-year low.
“We hope that our customers won’t see this as an imposition, but as a signal that Northampton really is one of the safest places to go out at night and have a good time.
“The message from pubs and clubs across Northampton is ‘we serve drinks not drunks’.”
Police will be using #Drinksnotdrunks to promote the campaign.