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Limited success for city centre violence reduction strategies

21 January 2011

Planned interventions to reduce alcohol-fuelled city centre violence in pubs and clubs have had only mixed results and are not being properly evaluated in the UK, a Cardiff University study has found.

The Cardiff team reviewed 1,327 studies from across the world but found only 15 that used rigorous methods, none from the UK. The methods used in studies included training programmes for bar staff and managers, ID checks, assessment of risk factors, refusal of service, community mobilisation (e.g. licensee accords and campaigns in local media) and police targeting of specific premises.

The Cardiff team found only limited evidence of these strategies reducing intoxication and disorder. Training schemes for bar staff appeared to offer some promise, no other intervention reduced violence and one intervention actually showed an increase in customers’ alcohol levels.

The research team also found there was a lack of consistency in the way interventions were assessed and measured. They are calling for more study in this field and a uniform system of evaluating the results of interventions.

The study was conducted by the University’s Violence and Society Research Group and the Cardiff Institute for Society and Health. It has just been published in the leading academic journal Addiction.

Dr Simon Moore, of the Violence and Society Research Group said: "Not enough is known about the best way to make pubs and clubs safe. There are plenty of good ideas out there, but no systematic way of evaluating them to help us decide what works and what does not. The problem of drink-related violence in city centres is now so severe we need a better evidence base about the most effective prevention strategies, which will help policy-makers.

"We also found that in many studies evaluators only got involved in the later stages of the intervention. If we are to reduce harm in our night-time city centres, researchers need to get involved in the early stages of developing interventions, before they are implemented."


Notes to editors


The full paper Interventions for disorder and severe intoxication in and around licensed premises, 1989 2009 by Iain Brennan, Simon Moore, Ellie Byrne and Simon Murphy is published online by Addiction (DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03297.x)

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Visit the University website at:
The Violence and Society Research Group website is at

For more information, please contact:
Dr Simon Moore
Violence & Society Research Group
School of Dentistry
Cardiff University.

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University.
029 2087 5596