HC Deb 28 March 2003 vol 402 cc451-2W
Mr. Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to require nightclubs to replace glass bottles with plastic; and what estimate he has undertaken of the number of injuries caused in or close to nightclubs by glass bottles used in violence. [104749]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth

No estimates are available of the number of injuries caused in or close to nightclubs by glass bottles used in violence. However, the latest results from the British Crime Survey (BCS) estimate that a glass or bottle was used as a weapon in six per cent of all violent crime incidents. Research based on the 2000 BCS found that one in seven incidents of stranger violence and one in 10 incidents of acquaintance violence in pubs and clubs involved either a bottle or a glass.

We have no plans at present to introduce legislation to require the replacement of glass bottles with plastic. But we remain concerned about the high level of injuries that occur when glasses and bottles are used as weapons in drink-related situations in and outside licensed premises and other drinking establishments, and we intend to see that this problem is effectively tackled.

The Licensing Bill Guidance that has been published in draft by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will make it clear that it will be open to the licensing authority (i) to impose conditions to address violence of this form if the police foresee problems, and (ii) where this form of violence has taken place on licensed premises, to impose a specific condition following a review of the premises licence. There will be a range of conditions that a licensing authority could impose on a premises, including one that they make use only of plastic vessels. In the most serious cases the licence itself can be revoked.

The Home Office published three research reports on alcohol-related crime on 25 March 2003. An evaluation of the "Tackling Alcohol-Related Street Crime (TASC) Project" in Cardiff and Cardiff Bay found that alcohol-related assaults were cut by 4 per cent. and targeted policing cut incidents by 41 and 36 per cent. in and around two specific clubs. This proves that effective steps can be taken to cut the amount of drunken violence.

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