Evaluation of the Lancashire Polycarbonate Glass Pilot Project

Anderson Z, Whelan G, Hughes K et al.
Liverpool John Moores University - Centre for Public Health


Glassware used in pubs, bars and nightclubs can be a major cause of injury to customers and staff. Glasses and bottles are used in 4% of all violent incidents in England and Wales (Kershaw et al, 2008) and are the most common weapons used in violence occurring in drinking environments (Coomaraswamy and Shepherd, 2003). Such violence can result in serious and sometimes fatal injury, placing major burdens on individuals and public services, including health and criminal justice agencies. Accidental breakage of glassware is also a significant cause of unintentional injury in licensed premises. One study found that, in just six months, 26% of bar workers were injured by broken glasses (Warburton and Shepherd, 2000). A third of unintentional injuries suffered by customers in a major UK nightclub were caused by broken glass (Luke et al, 2002).To prevent glass-related violence, police and licensing authorities in many areas have encouraged or mandated the use of safer drinking vessels, including polycarbonate glassware (PCG; see Box 1) in licensed premises. Such moves have often been met with resistance by both the alcohol industry and drinkers, through concerns around negative impacts on trade and drinking experience (Winder and Wesson, 2006). However, the quality of PCG has improved in recent years and little information is available on the impacts of introducing high quality PCG in licensed premises. To address this, a project was undertaken in Lancashire by police, health services and academics to provide high quality PCG to licensed premises and assess its impacts on injury, perceptions of safety and violence, and its acceptability to customers and the licensed trade.