UK Government

Home Office : World-first prototype pint glasses developed to make drinking safer

Press Release   •   Feb 05, 2010 10:54 GMT

Two revolutionary prototype pint glasses designed to reduce the terrible injuries caused by nearly 87,000 glass attacks each year were unveiled at the Design Council today by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

The safer pint glasses, designed not to shatter into loose and dangerous shards, have been produced under the Design Out Crime programme, an initiative from the Home Office’s Design & Technology Alliance Against Crime and the Design Council.

The revolutionary prototypes – world-firsts that feature new high-tech ways of using glass - will now undergo a range of intensive tests before they are ready to be piloted in pubs and bars.

Although alcohol related violence has fallen by 33 per cent since 1997 there remain 87,000 violent incidents involving glass each year, which in addition to the impact on victims, their families and communities, costs the NHS an estimated £2.7 billion each year. In total alcohol related violence is estimated to cost the UK between £8 billion and £13 billion a year.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:

"Glassing causes horrific injuries and has a lasting and devastating impact on victims and their families. I hope these designs will help bring an end to such attacks. While this is never going to be the only answer to preventing such violence, it is an important step forward which could also provide retailers and drinkers with a preferable alternative to plastic glasses. 

"Tackling crime is not just about police action. Innovation and design also have a huge impact. Technologies like car immobilisers have helped cut vehicle crime by 57 per cent since 1997.

"I wish the Design and Technology Alliance and all our partners every success during the testing, and look forward to seeing the results."

Designed to be safer, but also a more popular alternative to plastic, the two new designs are the first major advance in glassware for pubs since the 1960s. They are:

-Glass Plus - looks just like a regular pint glass but has a thin transparent coating of bio-resin on the inside. This makes it stronger and if the glass is broken it binds together dangerous shards - drastically reducing the likelihood of injury to customers and staff.

- Twin Wall - a revolutionary design, made by bonding two ultra-thin layers of glass together in a concept similar to laminated car windscreens. It makes the pint glass extremely difficult to break, but in the event that it does smash, any dangerous shards would be safely held together by a layer of resin.

Specialist design consultancy Design Bridge used early research results from InnovationRCA, the business network of the Royal College of Art, to help create dozens of initial concepts. These were assessed by leading glass manufacturers, materials experts, drinks producers and pub owners before the two final solutions were chosen.

Jeremy Myerson, Alliance lead on this project and Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art, said:

"This is a major step forward and an impressive example of using design to solve social issues and make communities safer from crime. These solutions have the potential to reduce serious injuries. What the designers have shown here isn’t the only solution to the problem – there are other ways to achieve a similar effect – but it’s about offering choice."

David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council and member of the Alliance, said:

"There are many benefits here; these innovative new designs could help protect the public and reduce the burden of coping with glassing related injuries. In the current economic climate it is also good to see such a thorny problem turned into a global export opportunity for British business."

The Alliance is a group of experts from the fields of design, industry and law enforcement whose task is to spark innovation and encourage others to ‘think crime’ in the first stages of product development.  It asked designers to develop pint glasses that were attractive to beer brands and pub operators, and that consumers wanted to drink from. The solutions also had to be safer than existing glassware.

David Helps, Director of 3D and Innovation, Design Bridge, said:

"“The beauty of these glasses is that they keep everything British drinkers love about their pint; they look good, work better and are safer in front and behind the bar."

Development of the prototypes and further safety testing under laboratory conditions will now take place before the glasses are tested in a pubs and clubs.

As part of the Design and Technology Alliance the Design Council is already in talks with major pub chains about trialling the Glass Plus glasses, which it is hoped will be ready within 12 months. The Twin Wall designs will be further refined in consultation with manufacturers to investigate possible large scale production processes.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Design Out Crime programme is an initiative from the Home Office’s Design & Technology Alliance Against Crime and the Design Council. The Alliance is a group of highly respected experts from the worlds of design, industry and law enforcement, and they work on developing solutions to a wide range of crime-related problems, particularly those which affect young people, including:

- Schools – finding and applying specific design solutions to reduce problems such as bullying, fighting and petty theft in schools;

- ‘Hot’ products – developing innovations in technology, services and product design which help make personal electronics more ‘crime-proof’;

- Housing Crime – re-designing Neighbourhood Watch to reinvigorate it for the 21st Century;

- Alcohol-related Crime – finding design-led approaches to reduce the harm caused by alcohol-related antisocial and criminal behaviour, especially assaults in pubs and clubs;

- Business Crime – helping businesses to use design to minimize crimes such as shoplifting and other forms of retail theft.

For more information visit: www.designoutcrime.org.uk

2. Design has already seen significant reductions in crime:

- 90 per cent of mobile phone handsets reported stolen are now blocked within 24 hours reducing their value and the incentive to steal.
- The British Crime Survey figures for 2008/09 show vehicle related theft has reduced by 57 per cent since 1997, in part because of improved security being designed into the vehicle. 
- An evaluation of houses built to the Association of Chief Police Officers Secured By Design (SBD) standards showed that these experience 26 per cent less crime than non SBD houses, and residents fear of crime is lower.

3. The Design & Technology Alliance Against Crime was established by the Home Office in 2007 and is tasked with bringing about innovation and encouraging others to ‘think crime’ in the first stages of design, planning and product development. It is comprised of ten experts from the world of design industry and law enforcement:

- Sebastian Conran (Alliance Leader – Design), Director Sebastian Conran Associates
- Gloria Laycock (Deputy Alliance Leader - Crime), Director of UCL Centre for Security and Crime Science
- Joe McGeehan, Director of Centre for Communications Research, Bristol University and Managing Director of Toshiba   Research Europe
- Sir John Sorrell, Chair of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, and the Sorrell Foundation
- Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design, Royal College of Art and Design Council member
- David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes, Technology Strategy Board
- Lorraine Gamman, Professor of Design Studies, Central St Martins
- David Kester, Chief Executive, Design Council
- Michael Wolff, co-founder of brand consultancy Wolff Ollins
- Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police

4. The Design Council is the national strategic body for design. Its mission is to inspire and enable the best use of design to make the UK a more competitive, creative and sustainable nation.www.designcouncil.org.uk

5. Design Bridge is an international branding agency that creates and develops brands. The agency’s 3D and Innovation team is renowned for its creative and technical excellence. They have worked for many brands in sectors such as personal and home care, and food and drinks where they have extensive experience of developing branded packaging, beer fonts and glassware. Design Bridge was founded in 1986, works across 40 different countries and has offices in London, Amsterdam and Singapore. www.designbridge.com

6. For more information images or slow motion footage of the new pint glasses being tested contact the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535.

7. For more details on the Design Council’s involvement contact Luke Horwill, Design Council, Marketing & Communications Manager (Crime): 0207 420 5263, mobile: 0796 418 6686,luke.horwill@designcouncil.org.uk.

Contacts

NDS Enquiries 
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department 
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk