Trade told to foot pub violence injury bill

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Related tags: Glass, British beer & pub association

The pub trade should contribute to the cost of compensation for victims of pub fights, according to researchers in Cardiff.The call for action came...

The pub trade should contribute to the cost of compensation for victims of pub fights, according to researchers in Cardiff.

The call for action came after a new study revealed people injured in pub fights are awarded £4m in compensation each year.

Researchers from the Violence Research Group at the University Dental Hospital and School, Cardiff, analysed 152,000 claims made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) between 1996 and 1998.

They found that 15,217 of these assaults were related to licensed premises and that over the two-year period the CICA paid out more than £8m in compensation to victims of bar brawls.

Writing in the journal Injury Prevention, Professor Jonathan Shepherd said: "Drinks continue to be sold in glass bottles, many of which are used as weapons, when suitable and much safer alternatives - plastic bottles - are available.

"Overall, compensation awards from the public purse to victims injured in only one setting - licensed premises - are substantial and very largely preventable.

"Therefore, it can be argued that the alcohol industry - particularly licensed premises - should compensate the public purse for all or a proportion of this expenditure."

But Mark Hastings, spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association, said if anyone should pay it should be the attackers.

"We should be punishing the people who commit these crimes not the places where the crimes are committed," he said.

"The industry has invested a great deal so that licensees and barstaff are trained on how to manage flashpoints before they occur and deal with the problems when they occur."

Glasses and bottles are the most common weapons used in brawls, which have prompted calls for licensed premises to introduce plastic glasses and bottles.

Even though toughened glassware has been increasingly used over the last decade, injuries from glasses and bottles continue to be the most common weapons used in violent assaults in the UK, according to the study.

But Mr Hastings argued that 90 per cent of businesses already use reinforced glass.

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