Monday, 3 September 2012

Lets make a night out safer...

I am backing a Bill being brought forward by Ian Lucas, the Labour MP for Wrexham which would require nightclubs to provide drinks in plastic bottles - banning glass.

I have added my name to the face of the Bill as a sponsor.

Ian brought this bill around as the result of an incident in his constitency involving a young woman having a glass bottle smashed in her face, leaving her seriously scarred. However incidents like this have been happening up and down the country for years now, and though there is no quick-fix to anti social violence, this change could make a big difference.

Hyndburn Community Partnership with Hyndburn Council piloted a plastic glass scheme between 1 July 2009 to 31 March 2010 which by its end, had 20 pubs and clubs using the polycarbonate glasses. During this period there were no glass related assaults or incidents reported during the period covered.

Compare that to the period between July 2008 and July 2009 (12 months prior to the initiative taking place) there were 13 glassing incidents in Hyndburn. 4 of these took place in Accrington town centre.

Who can forget the horrific incident in Blackburn where glass thrown by a yob into a bar shattered with a shard fataly cutting the throat of an innocent person.

Lancashire Constabulary piloted a scheme requiring night clubs in Lancashire to use Polycarbonate ‘glasses’. Some clubs in Lancashire that were averaging as high as 17 glassings a year prior to the scheme experiencing no such incidents during the trial. Both landlords and customers liked the scheme, and the small grumbles which people had about the plastic, were more than outweighed by the benefits of removing potential weapons from the hands of drunks.
  • In a Home Office Report the value for money tool estimated the average cost for a common assault against individuals and households is £1,441 whilst a more serious assault averages out at £8,852. Please note this is based on 2003 prices and does not take into account inflation.
  • It is estimated that an alcohol-related glassing incident can cost up to £180,000 to treat, involving up to 48 different professionals (McManus, 2003). Over a one-year period, the cost to the taxpayer of compensation as a result of glass and bottle-related assault in the UK has been estimated at £1.15 million (Coomaraswamy and Shepherd, 2003). (Source Evaluation of the Lancashire Polycarbonate Glass Pilot Project April 2009)
  • There were no glass related assaults or incidents reported during the period covered by Hyndburn’s initiative. If the initial investment of £2,500 for polycarbonate glasses prevented one glassing incident in Hyndburn over this period this could have potentially saved £180,000.
On an even more basic business-interests level, plastic is cheaper to replace, and requires replacing less often because they don't break so easily.

Though progress was made under the previous Labour Government, anti-social violence as a result of alcohol is still a big problem in Hyndburn - as it is in most of the country.

There is a related problem regarding serving alcohol to very drunk people. Too many bar staff - under the direction, of lack of direction from their managers - feel unable or unwilling to tell a drunk that they've had enough. It is illegal to serve alcohol to someone who is drunk in public, and I think we need to look into how this is working in reality.

However, a change however small, from glass to plastic in nightclubs could make a big difference, and take dangerous weapons out of the hands of drunks.

Hyndburns CSP / Hyndburn Council Project Evaluation Record (2010)

We want to ensure that all our projects add value at both an individual and organisational level and deliver an acceptable return on investment. To help us do this we would be grateful if you could complete this evaluation questionnaire as frankly and fully as possible.

Les Sholicar, Police Licensing Officer
Lancashire Constabulary

Project Title:

Date Of Event:
01/07/09 TO 31/03/10

The Following Document Is To Be Completed No Later Than Three Months After The Project ends

1 What were the original objectives?
To increase the number of pubs and clubs using polycarbonate glasses, thereby reducing the likelihood of glass related assaults and incidents.

2 What outcomes were achieved?
The number of pubs and clubs using polycarbonate glasses, either full time or for particular events, has increased from 7 to 20 and includes all major town centre venues.

3 What worked well?
This initiative was promoted through the Hyndburn Pubwatch Scheme and has been so well received that non-pubwatch members have been making contact to request polycarbonate glasses.

4 What didn’t work?
It had been hoped that greater inroads could have been made into the supply of non-glass bottles as a natural follow on to this initiative. Unfortunately only minimal progress has been made on this front.

5 What would have made the experience better?
Possibly wider use of the polycarbonate glasses on a full time basis rather than only for specific events.

There were no glass related assaults or incidents reported during the period covered by this initiative and it is hoped that, with premises numbers using the glasses increasing, this will continue to be the case for some time.

There is now a reserve of about £1,000, currently held in Hyndburn Pubwatch funds, to order further supplies of polycarbonate glasses. Several enquiries have been received requesting that wine glasses be added to the selection available. This will be considered when placing our next order.

Our existing supply of polycarbonate glasses is almost exhausted, with only about 400 of the original 11,000 glasses remaining.