University backtracks on plans to install “drunk tanks” outside college plodges

The shocking proposal comes from Eastern Europe, where the police use them to detain drunk revellers.

Drunk tanks

Minutes obtained by The Tab – which have now been censored – show that last year the university considered a novel remedy to Cambridge’s binge drinking problem.

Minutes for the Senior Tutors’ Committee indicate that some colleges “had considered” or “were taking steps towards” installing “drunk tanks” or “cooler rooms” next to college plodges. These would allow drunk students “to recover before being safely dispatched to their own College”.

The Independent describes drunk tanks as “one-person cells used to hold troublemakers”. They are commonly used by police in the US, but originate in the Czech Republic. They are increasingly common in the UK, where inebriated occupants are forced to pay up to £400 for the privilege of staying the night there.

A woman in a "drunk tank" on an American TV show. Screengrab: Police Patrol.

A woman in a “drunk tank” on an American TV show. Screengrab: Police Patrol.

But members of the committee, probably correctly anticipating the reaction of drinking societies, wondered whether such an initiative might lead to “additional behavioural problems, such as it becoming a rite of passage to spend time in such a facility”.  This would “normalise aberrant drunken behaviour”.

A meeting was subsequently arranged with porters, bursars and representatives from CUSU and the GU. The Tab has been unable to obtain minutes from this meeting.

Now featuring a cell to keep you in check until you're sober.

Now featuring a cell to keep you in check until you’re sober.

But a spokesman for the university told us: “We take the issue of alcohol abuse very seriously and are looking at ways to further promote responsible drinking. After discussion this suggestion is no longer part of those considerations.”

This is in spite of the fact that the 2015 minutes indicated that some colleges were “taking steps towards” installing drunk tanks.

Gone from the University's records.

Gone from the University’s records.

Following this, the University, committed as always to the utmost levels of transparency, was swift to remove all mention of “drunk tanks” from the Senior Tutors’ Committee’s minutes.

Cover up?

Yeah, we noticed.

Thank God for screenshots.

Did your college start taking steps towards having drunk tanks in 2015? Let us know here.