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Corbishley: bars can help stop drink-driving

Leading debate: Commissioner of Police Steven Corbishley

Bar staff could be drafted in to help combat drink-driving, the Commissioner of Police has said.

Steven Corbishley believes bartenders could help stop customers who might drink and drive — and even contact police if a customer got back on the road after drinking too much.

He said: “It is the way in which we engage with licensees and business premises to get their support so collectively we can address the issues.

“I am really keen on identifying licensed premises where people are repeatedly drink- driving because that allows us to engage with them and look at their social responsibility.

“If someone puts their keys on the bar and then proceeds to drink a significant amount of alcohol, should the licensees simply just be focused on taking their money or should they consider not serving them?

“Or if they get to a point where they are so drunk and it appears they are going to go on the road, should they be contacting the police?

“These are some of the debates we should be having.”

Cada, an anti-alcohol abuse charity, already runs a training course for bar managers and staff which includes guidelines on how to deal with problem customers.

But Mr Corbishley said he would like to see more police involvement. He added that unreliable night transport services — particularly at weekends — remained a problem.

The hospitality industry is thought to have been hit by the introduction of breath test checkpoints, which suggests people are deciding to stay at home.

Mr Corbishley said: “If you want people to change their behaviour, there needs to be appropriate structures in place to do with public transportation.

“It is a debate that Government sees and I have seen encouraging signs of engagement with taxi firms and bus companies, but, again, it’s not going to happen overnight.

“But also, that can never be an excuse for an individual to say they couldn’t get a taxi home so they decided to drink-drive home.

“People should take some personal responsibility — look at what their evening will involve, whether that is having a designated driver or going out closer to home.”

Mr Corbishley also dismissed fears that some people could be unfairly targeted at checkpoints and emphasised every vehicle is stopped and checked.

He said: “If you look at the breakdown by ethnicity there are a variety of different people.

“Checkpoints are not biased against one particular group. This crosses communities, cultures and age groups but that makes it more serious — it means the debate is bigger and we need to engage collectively and start trying to drive change.

“It is important for me and the Bermuda Police Service to make sure we don’t target a particular group so we need to understand the statistics and look at whether or not there is a high profile in one given area — reassuringly that doesn’t appear to be the case based on population make up.”

There have been 41 arrests since the first checkpoint was set up in September.

Thirty were black, nine were white and two were Asian.

There were 35 men detained and six women and ages ranged from 20 to 65.

Mr Corbishley said earlier this week that he wanted to see more flexibility in how checkpoints could be deployed in the future.