Mixed reaction to calls to ban glass in clubs

Calls to ditch glass in favour of plastic across Norwich's clubland today received a mixed reaction with licensing chiefs warning that it would penalise the vast majority of people not intent on causing trouble.

As reported in the Evening News last Thursday, doorman Hugo Jarrett, 22, of Costessey, who was glassed while working at Essence, on Prince of Wales Road, on October 30, has called for plastic glasses to be introduced in a bid to prevent other people suffering as he did. Plastic glasses are regularly used at many pubs and clubs on football match days up and down the country.

But Nick De'ath, chairman of Norwich City Centre Licensing Forum, which looks after the interests of licensees across the city, questioned the wisdom of swapping glasses for plastic across the city.

'I don't know whether it would be the right thing,' he said.

'It would depend on the venue and the area. There are definitely times for plastic glasses, but I don't think it would be correct to introduce them at every club, bar and restaurant.

'For example, if I was someone paying �4 for a pint of lager in Norwich city centre, I would not appreciate getting it in a plastic glass.

'To introduce them everywhere would penalise the large percentage of people who go out to just enjoy themselves and not cause trouble.'

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Instead, he has called for a zero tolerance approach by police to criminal acts in Norwich's city centre.

He said: 'In the end it's all down to responsible licensing. The whole policing side of things should be looked at, and anyone who commits a crime should be dealt with severely, which I don't think always happens.

'I would like to see a zero tolerance policy across the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights and anybody causing trouble should know that they are going to get nicked.'

However, Lesley Grahame, a Green city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, which covers Prince of Wales Road and Riverside, said her party was in favour of the use of good quality reusable plastic glasses. She said: 'Safety is paramount and the Greens have proposed to the council's licensing committee that there may be a condition in new licensing applications for the use of non-glass reusable glasses. We think it's the way forward.'

And Insp Ed Brown, from Norfolk Constabulary's Community Safety, said: 'We support the use of plastic or polycarbonate glassware and we have been in discussion with businesses in the night-time economy over this subject.'

How would you make Norwich's clubland safer? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.