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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
Bid to stop 'vertical drinking'
Drinkers standing up in bars and pubs are being encouraged to sit down in a bid to cut the potential for violence.

Health officials and police are calling for more tables and chairs in the pubs of Preston, in Lancashire, to cut down on so-called "vertical drinking".

They said the trend can lead to fights as people are jostled and drinks are spilled in crowded establishments.

It is one of a number of proposals being considered as ways of cutting alcohol-fuelled violence in the city.

The discussions between the Preston Primary Care Trust and Lancashire Police are ongoing.

We don't think standing up, chatting to friends, enjoying a drink is a problem, per se
British Beer and Pub Association spokesman

The authorities said they want to give more people an opportunity to sit down and reduce the capacity for trouble.

The idea has been compared to the calming effect of getting rid of terraces at football matches.

A spokeswoman for Preston PCT said: "It has never been our aim to ban vertical drinking as this would stop many people's enjoyment of visiting local pubs and clubs.

"Our aim is to work with licensees to ensure a safe drinking environment and that people have a wide range of options when they go out drinking.

"We have a lot of evidence to suggest that when people are standing in a bar they tend to drink more alcohol and the problem with that is that the more people binge drink the more likely they are to be involved in alcohol related injury or crime."

Taxi scheme

Ch Insp Cath Thundercloud said the bid to encourage more seated drinkers was one of a number of measures to make a person's night out safer.

"We have a pubwatch scheme, where we educate the licensees and also the bar staff," she said.

"We also have a taxi scheme so that when people have had a drink in Preston they can get home safely in taxis."

She said the main message to people was to be sensible about the amount they drink and be aware of their surroundings.

A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association said: "We don't think standing up, chatting to friends, enjoying a drink is a problem, per se.

"It might be the pub or the crowding that is the problem. Standing should not be viewed in a negative way."

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