Glass evidence kits for pubs!

It seems that Police in England have developed a “crime scene kit” to give to bar and pub owners for the collection of glass after drunken brawls. Glassings or bottlings (when a glass or bottle is smashed before being thrust into the victim, often in the face) are a common occurrence in British society, usually after 10 pints of lager and shortly before a kebab on a Saturday night.
The biggest problem with cases of this type is that the witnesses are often pissed and can’t clearly remember what happened, the CCTV footage isn’t too clear and the glass used in the event gets crushed and then swept up because, obviously, it’s dangerous. In cases where broken glass is successfully recovered, the forensic results can be very good – fingerprints can demonstrate the manner in which a bottle was being held, DNA from blood can show whose body said weapon was used against but, as I just indicated, this type of information is often lost in the aftermath.
Police in Plymouth, Devon, have decided to try to combat this problem of lost evidence by handing out clean dustpan and brush kits to local pub and bar owners so that they can collect the evidence for later examination (City bars given ‘crime busting’ dustpan and brush).
To me, this could go one way or the other. On the one hand, it’s good because the collection of this sort of information could potentially increase the number of successful convictions in what is an horrendous and often life-altering event for the victim. On the other hand, there is no chain of custody with law enforcement personnel. A bar manager could choose to ‘fit someone up’ because, let’s face it, the chances are that that they know the troublemakers. I think only time will tell with this one but I’d be interested to be involved with cases of this type as an independent expert, just to see how the prosecution laboratories and the Police handle the evidence collection side of things.


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