Some of you will have heard the rumour that the Guild of Students is banning Pre-drinks or banning fun by having breathalysers at the entrance to Fab.
This is not true… Yes there will be some breathalysers at Fab. But they are not there to ban fun or to stop you from coming in!
They will be used in two ways. The first as a way for people to understand how much alcohol correlates to what percentage blood alcohol volume (how many Micrograms per 100 ml). The second as an objective means by which security staff can assess the level of intoxication an attendee is.
I’m sure you have questions. So I will try to answer them. If I don’t feel free to get in touch with me at VPW@guild.bham.ac.uk
Why are we doing this scheme? Primarily to reduce the number of students who become victims of violent crime whilst being under the influence of alcohol. This is a police initiative designed to lower crime in the local area. This has been trialed in other areas and students’ unions around the country with great success. What we hope to do to tackle this is to educate students as to how much they are under the influence, the risk associated and we hope that this will mean that when people leave an event at the Guild they are aware enough of their surroundings to not walk home alone and to return home safely.
Secondly, the objective is to measure an individuals level of intoxication. We’ve all been stood behind that person in the queue who hasn’t been let in because they’ve been stumbling and are waaaaaay too drunk. Only to hear them protest that all they’ve had to drink is a glass of wine or a beer. Using a breathalyser gives an objective judgement not dependent on the opinion of security staff as to whether or not someone is too drunk to be allowed in.
If an individual really has only had one beer, they will blow a low blood alcohol level and there is the possibility that they may be able to get in.
How is this going to work in practice?
The first two/three weeks we will have people stood just inside the entrance offering students the chance to take a breathalyser test.
We’ll ask people to predict where they are and then get them to take a test. This will just be an opportunity for people to check how drunk they are and to get some facts about different levels of intoxication.
After the initial 3 week period we will be moving one of the breathalysers, to be used by the door staff managing the queue and we will select people at random (1 in every 100) to blow into it.
The aim of this is to let people know what level they are at before arriving at an event so that they can balance their alcohol intake throughout the night. It will also be an opportunity for the security staff to assess people’s intoxication level when deciding on letting them in.
What is the point?
I’ve covered this a little in the Why section. But to give you some context this scheme was trialled for an 8 week period in other areas, leading to a 32% reduction in violent crime in the area and a 66% reduction in drunk and disorderly calls the police received. It also will allow the Guild as a venue to review its policy in relation to other similar establishments. We will be tracking the levels of intoxication, the majority of people and noting down their age and sex in order to create a benchmark at which we no longer allow people into the venue.
Where will this be happening?
Finally, this scheme has already been rolled out across Broad Street and from this weekend will be used in the majority of the bars and pubs in Selly oak. The aim is that over the next 8 weeks we will see a reduction in violent crime and drunk and disorderly conduct in Selly oak