Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Avoid violence - go to the pub

Strathclyde Chief Constable Stephen House has bizarrely suggested that going to the pub reduces the risk of violent attack compared with staying at home. Well, he’s got me baffled there – surely sitting in front of the telly with a few cans I am at zero risk of attack, whereas if I go out even to the most genteel establishment there must be a slight risk, which is greatly increased if I go to rowdy pubs or nightclubs.

Oh, hang on, what he’s talking about is that getting drunk at home increases the risk of domestic violence. Well, maybe it does, but there are plenty of cases of blokes getting home from the pub and duffing up their wives, so it’s not quite as clear-cut as he makes out. But the victims of domestic violence tend to be an entirely different group from the victims of pub and club violence, so to say that going to the pub reduces an individual’s risk of being a victim is thoroughly misleading. And, in any case, the vast majority of people who enjoy a few drinks at home manage to do so without being remotely tempted to thump someone.

He then goes on to say that he wants to see more people drinking in pubs and clubs. Funny that, when the police and other authorities have been doing their best for years to make life difficult for those running licensed premises and to deter customers from visiting them, the smoking ban being a prime example. I suspect in reality he doesn’t really want to see people drinking in pubs and clubs either, he basically would prefer to see them not drinking at all.

Predictably, he finishes with yet another call to bring in minimum alcohol pricing. But in what way is raising the price of off-trade alcohol going to free up a single penny for people to spend in the pub? He fails to appreciate that most of the reasons for the decline in the pub trade and the rise in home drinking are nothing whatsoever to do with price - and some are to do with the actions of his own force.

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