Has the time come to ban the bottle? Alcohol related attacks involving glass in the UK are currently costing taxpayers £100m a year in reactionary services. A senior violence researcher is now urging the abolition of glass in pubs and clubs, however, the idea may not be very popular with licensees.
Dr. Alasdair Forsyth, of Glasgow Caledonian University and Glasgow Centre for the Study of Violence, is calling on alcohol retailers to consider exchanging glass drinks containers for a safer plastic option, in line with many pubs and clubs existing practices.
He points out that soft drinks are already sold in plastic bottles, milk in cartons, but that alcohol, which is the main driving force behind these attacks, is still purchased in a container which can easily double as a potentially lethal weapon.
An alternative polycarbonate glass was introduced in pubs across the city of Hull two years ago, which resulted in an estimated saving of around £7m for the NHS alone.
Mark Hastings of the Beer and Pub association, in an interview with Sky News, said that plans to ban glass in all licensed premises was disproportionate and that it should not be enforced all of the time:
“Glasses are only one of the things that people could pick up and use as a weapon should they choose to do it. There are chairs, tables, knives and forks. Where do we stop with this effort to drive out anything that could cause harm to people?”
The research carried out by Dr. Forsyth showed that resistance to using plastic containers could also come from the public. His study showed that resistance to plastic containers was much lower in younger people than those aged 40 plus, as they quite often believe that glass keeps the drink cooler.
Blake Golding, a doorman in Milton Keynes, was attacked with a bottle resulting in 50 stitches and knows only too well the damage a glass container can do when in the hands of the wrong person. His mother is now campaigning to ban glass from pubs and clubs after witnessing first hand the traumatic affect the attack has had on her sons life.
Dr. Forsyth will tell the The World Safety Conference today that evidence suggests that after knives, glass and bottles are the most commonly used weapon.