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Happy Hour linked to pub violence

04 March 2011 Cardiff University

A Cardiff University study has established a link between pub violence and happy hour-style drinking promotions.

The findings also show that pub staff themselves need to do more to stop heavily intoxicated customers from continuing to drink.


The team studied pubs and nightclubs with a history of violence across five different cities and towns in the UK. Customers entering and leaving the premises were breathalysed. The team also recorded data about the price of beer and any drink promotions at each establishment. Their findings were then linked to police and hospital data about assaults inside or immediately outside the premises.

The team found that premises with the highest levels of violence were most likely to have:

  • The greatest change in customers’ intoxication levels between entry and exit 
  • Price promotions on drinks


The team also found that simple observation of customers staggering or slurring their speech was a very accurate predicator of the levels of intoxication recorded by the breathalysers.

Dr Simon Moore, of Cardiff University’s award-winning Violence and Society Research Group, who led the study, said: “Our findings clearly show that alcohol misuse and violence are not simply caused by drinkers' weaknesses. The way premises are run also contributes, suggesting the industry still has more to do in playing its part.

“The legislation requiring bar staff not to serve those who are already drunk should be properly enforced. Our study shows these customers are not difficult to spot - time should be called on those who can no longer walk in a straight line or who slur their speech.

“Measures to restrict promotions and enforce sensible drinking would make night-time city centres healthier and more enjoyable spaces for everyone who uses them.”

The team’s findings have just been published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism and the Project was funded by the Medical Research Council.

Attached files

  • Credit: JIM VARNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Caption: MODEL RELEASED. Drunken aggression. Drunk man making a threatening gesture outside a pub. Alcohol reduces inhibitions and embarrassment and can promote antisocial or violent behaviour. - © This image is for illustration only and subject to copyright and may not be used or copied in any way without prior permission from Science Photo Library http://www.sciencephoto.com


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