Bristol's 'drunk tank' open for festive season

Police arrest a man
Image caption The idea is to free up ambulance crews, hospital beds and police time

Drunks considered a danger to themselves will be able to sober up and receive medical treatment at a secret location in Bristol.

It is hoped the 12-bed alcohol recovery centre (ARC) will help the emergency services by freeing up resources.

People in need of help will be taken to the "drunk tank" in a non emergency ambulance staffed by care assistants.

The centre, which opens on Friday, will initially operate just over the festive season.

'Not a hotel'

It is hoped the facility, staffed by three paramedics and three support staff, could eventually be rolled out on a more permanent basis.

The scheme, which is funded by the NHS, is run as a multi-agency partnership with police, the ambulance service, health organisations and the National Licensed Trade Association.

Peter Brown, from South Western Ambulance Service said: "The idea is to free up ambulance crews, hospital beds and police time by providing somewhere for people to go where they can be looked after," he said.

"The ARC is not a hotel or a B&B - you cannot check in for the night.

"This is really a place of safety until we can get somebody back to a position where they can look after themselves or indeed there is a relative or friend who can look after them," he added.

Earlier this year, the Association of Chief Police Officers called for privately-run drunk tanks to help deal with problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

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