While the traditional lout appears to have taken to the streets, abandoning the charms of lager for those of the more potent Molotov cocktail, the lounge bars of Britain have yet to become havens of tranquility. Three years' research by Bass Taverns has produced a detailed survey as to the extent of violence in its pubs.
Spare a thought, for instance, for the lot of the beleaguered publican. Bass's statistics show that, in the average year, one of its managers will deal with 11 fights between customers and can himself expect to be subjected to three assaults (and this, remember, is an average pub). Furthermore, it finds that management skills and style are the most important factors controlling violence.
In response, Bass has launched a "proactive training package" for managers, outlining various strategies for preventing a minor altercation from turning into a saloon bar brawl. Strong-arm tactics, it seems, are seldom the best approach. Instead Bass counsels diplomacy along lines of fairness and firmness. How an individual responds to what it terms a "conflict scenario" will now play a part in the selection of new managers. As Ewan Harries, North-west managing director, observes: "We don't want thugs to run difficult pubs."
Though Bass took the risk of announcing the above scheme in a pub but a short distance from Fleet Street, Management Today is glad to report that the event passed without incident.