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Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 09:33 UK

Breath-test plan for London alcoholics


The Deputy Mayor of London for Policing, Kit Malthouse, has said he will pilot an US-type scheme whereby problem drinkers are jailed for a day if they fail twice daily alcohol breath-tests.

He admitted that alcohol-related crime is a "disproportionate problem in London" and is costing the taxpayer "a fortune".

Mr Malthouse added that he planned to introduce the scheme "as an alternative to go into prison or it's used in conjunction with prison".

He believes this idea will work in London because "not only is it punitive but it's also corrective," he says.

In addition, the scheme "costs the taxpayers nothing" and so it should be a "win, win" situation, he told John Humphrys.

But Don Shenker of the charity Alcohol Concern said he was "dubious about the long-term success" of the idea.

He is not sure whether people would change their behaviour at the end of the year-long scheme.

He has said he did not think "sobriety for a long time" would change people's behaviour and stressed that counselling was crucial in treating alcohol problems.

Mr Malthouse was, however, adamant that the idea should become "part of the armoury" to fight alcohol-related crime in London.

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