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Police suggest over-21 age limit for nightclubs

Concerns have been raised around age restrictions in nightclubs since the Arches volunteered to raise its minimum age limit to over 21 in the wake of the death of Regane MacColl.

During a police licensing briefing in Aberdeen last week, one officer reportedly suggested this minimum age limit, or a minimum age of over-25 in some cases, should be rolled out across Scotland.

The Sunday Herald understands the officer suggested an over-21 limit for several venues thought to have had issues with drug use in the past. But critics say that if age restrictions were raised to 21, underage clubbers using fake IDs would simply tweak their false ID from 18 up to 21. They also point out Regane MacColl was 17 when she died.

Glasgow club owner Donald MacLeod slammed the idea of a minimum age of 21, saying: "This would be disastrous for the trade if it was implemented, and this seems to have been dicussed without the advice or involvement of licensing boards or forums."

Councillor John McLaughlin, a member of the Glasgow City Council Licensing Board, said if any changes were made, unless through Parliament, every licensing board would have to be consulted and he suggested venues would have to be assessed case by case.

Labour's home affairs spokesman, Graeme Pearson, who as a police officer headed the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said: "I can't see that setting a different age limit is going to matter. Teenagers want to go to the city for a night out.

"There's no point in saying that if they're not 21 they're not entitled to it. It's about making sure they come in to a facility that's safe, whether you're 21 or 18."

"It also involves administering a system which is disciplined enough to ensure anybody under the age is identified and rejected at the door. A lot of kids have these fake ID cards, but young people have a way of getting about it by registering under a different date of birth so I suppose a lot of that is about training of doorstaff as well."

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