I have drunk in pubs for over forty years and in some rough ones too. In that time, I've seen plenty of arguments, but very few fights, yet alone incidents where glasses or bottles have been used as weapons. I do though read about such appalling occurrences from time to time. These kind of attacks, when they happen, are horrifying and need the full force of the law to be brought down on the perpetrators. In fact they need to be locked up for a long time.
These kind of incidents are though relatively rare and while horrible, do they justify the response we see from police in Plymouth? That is to seek a ban on glassware where "more than one incident of this kind takes place". The action is aimed at "troublesome night spots" it seems, but reading about it more carefully, there is an indication that it may well be spread wider than that. In fact the Morning Advertiser has a headline which reads: "Glass bottles and traditional glasses are to be banned from pubs and bars in Plymouth city centre to stamp out late night violent crime." Now define "incident" please. And "late night". The Police, as nearly always it seems, are much more likely to try and inflict a restriction on the civil liberties of many, rather than tackle the actual culprits. If there are well known "troublesome nightspots" then why aren't they applying the letter of existing law and having them closed down or restricted in their operations? Why should the vast majority of well behaved customers have to drink out of plastic or aluminium, in case a nutter goes berserk? Oddly the Plymouth cops cite an 80% reduction in "serious violence" in Newquay as a justification. 80% of how many you might wonder? 20? 100? 1000? Note too "serious crime". Not glassings, but serious crime. Dodgy justification and conflating two different things with each other seem doubtful by way of justification unless there is a whole lot more verifiable evidence to support it.
When the police seek to restrict the liberty of individual businesses and customers, they should be made to explain the statistical evidence behind what they are doing, what they have already tried which has failed and why existing powers they have are insufficient to deal with it.
No proof - no way.
I declare an interest here. I hate drinking out of plastic. On the plus side, I'm probably in bed by the time these troublesome incidents occur.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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