A trade-off between safety and customer experience?
It is still very disturbing when customers at licensed premises are subject to vicious attacks and which involves glass or bottles. A recent report in The Evening Standard on 19th March 2017 headlined ‘Man Glassed for Holding Hands with Boyfriend in Unprovoked Homophobic Attack….’. and showed appalling injuries from a nonsensical attack.
A search on the internet for ‘Pub glassing UK’ returns some 388,000 articles. Many of the reports gave harrowing accounts of glassing incidents, horrific photographs of injuries and details of long lasting physical and mental effects to the individuals.
It is often not surprising when Licensing Police Officers demand that a premises, with a history of violence, should be subject to a condition compelling them to use polycarbonate, plastic or toughened glass at the premises. However, some authorities impose this type of condition on clubs, pubs and wine bars almost as standard.
Good operators argue that good quality polycarbonate glasses are still expensive and inevitably, they create a negative perception of the venue. Others argue that it reduces the drinking experience, warms beer, is patronising to drinkers, is too lightweight or the disposal of this kind of glassware has a negative impact on the environment. Licensing Authorities and operators therefore have to consider whether these arguments outweigh the potential seriousness of injuries caused by glass containers and bottles.
It is clear that good management of licensed premises can help to protect customers to a certain extent. Proper controls could dispel the arguments for a nationwide ban on the use of glass, still favoured by many Authorities. However, whilst ever there is a danger to customers and staff by a few aggressive and thoughtless individuals, safety must be the primary consideration.
For example, one particular operator assesses the risk of glassing by careful consideration of the nature of event, especially on busy Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. They voluntarily reduce the capacity of their premises and check the nature of events taking place at other venues, or indeed at sporting arenas. If there is a need, they voluntarily use polycarbonate glasses and decant glass bottles into polycarbonate vessels - the knock on effect is that staff and customers feel safe and the premises have a ‘roaring trade’.
However, the fact remains that at many pubs, wine bars and restaurants, customers would rather enjoy a good ale, wine, champagne or even a cocktail in a ‘proper’ glass. They also expect a premises to have proper procedures in place to ensure their safety.
No one wants to be a statistic or one of the 388,000 ‘hits’ on a Google search.