UK & World News
Police Back Private 'Drunk Tanks' For Revellers
Police chiefs have backed privately-run drunk tanks where intoxicated revellers are kept overnight and made to pay for their stay.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee, the national policing lead on alcohol harm, said drunken individuals should be held in "welfare centres" run by a commercial company.
Mr Lee, head of Northamptonshire Police, told Sky News' Sunrise programme how the system might work.
He said: "The cost of policing for arresting and taking positive action for people who are drunk and disorderly and bringing them into custody cells is significant and not necessarily the best place for people who are drunk to be.
"We would arrest them, they would go to a welfare centre and when they were sober the police would return to deal with the criminality of their behaviour and there might well be a bill to pay.
"I think the impact of that would be a deterrent effect on people who choose to go out and get so drunk that they're incapable of looking after themselves."
He said the number of extra officers his own force used to police town centres on Friday and Saturday nights had increased from five to as many as 18 in the last 10 years because of binge drinking.
At the launch of a week-long campaign aimed at highlighting alcohol harm, Mr Lee also criticised the Government for failing to implement minimum pricing for a unit of alcohol in England and Wales.
Sir Peter Fahy, vice president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said binge-drinking was putting a massive strain on police and health services.
"Cheap drink and later opening hours only adds to the problem," he said.
The drunk tank idea came as it emerged that bouncers in pubs and clubs across the UK will be trained to protect people who are too drunk to look after themselves.
The Home Office has told the Security Industry Authority to teach all 100,000 licensed door-staff how to prevent "vulnerable" people from coming to harm.
Bouncers, who must be trained by the SIA to work in licensed premises, will be given a checklist of actions.
These include reuniting people with friends, helping them get a taxi home and, as a last resort, calling the police.
On the streets of Newcastle, where the new training for bouncers was developed, late-night drinkers admitted they "pre-loaded" with cheap booze before coming out.
At 11pm, 34-year-old Donna Davison showed Sky News a half-litre bottle of vodka she had brought from home to top up her glass during the night.
She said: "I bought (a bigger bottle) at the corner shop, filled it up and brought it with us."
Her friend Marie Thompson, 40, who claimed to have drunk a litre of vodka before arriving in the city centre at 9pm, described drink prices in clubs as "extortionate".
She said: "People on poverty who've got kids, it's not fair really, because they charge £6 for one single drink.
"We like to go out and have a good night, that's why we bring our own, it's cheaper."
Acting Superintendent Bruce Storey, from Northumbria Police, said the new training for bouncers had helped reduce crime in Newcastle since being introduced earlier in the year.
He said: "If people have had too much to drink, quite clearly their inhibitions go, their ability to be aware of their surroundings tends to be diminished and the consequences of that are obvious."
Bouncer Chris Woodcock described the training as a form of customer service.
He said: "It's being aware of vulnerable people and making sure that everyone has a good night and they get to go home safely."
But his colleague Paul Faetz, 50, who has 32 years working on the doors in Newcastle, says binge drinkers have made the job unbearable and he is retiring.
He said: "It's been over the last five years (that) people have become more and more heavy drinkers.
"I don't really want to be around that. Now with drugs and drink, it's not a nice place to work."