Open Access Study protocol

The reduction of intoxication and disorder in premises licensed to serve alcohol: An exploratory randomised controlled trial

Simon C Moore1*, Iain R Brennan1, Simon Murphy2, Ellie Byrne2, Susan N Moore2, Jonathan P Shepherd1 and Laurence Moore2

Author Affiliations

1 Violence & Society Research Group, Cardiff School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF14 4XY, UK

2 Cardiff Institute for Society and Health, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, 1-3 Museum Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BD, UK

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:607  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-607

Published: 14 October 2010



Licensed premises offer a valuable point of intervention to reduce alcohol-related harm.


To describe the research design for an exploratory trial examining the feasibility and acceptability of a premises-level intervention designed to reduce severe intoxication and related disorder. The study also aims to assess the feasibility of a potential future large scale effectiveness trial and provide information on key trial design parameters including inclusion criteria, premises recruitment methods, strategies to implement the intervention and trial design, outcome measures, data collection methods and intra-cluster correlations.


A randomised controlled trial in licensed premises that had experienced at least one assault in the year preceding the intervention, documented in police or hospital Emergency Department (ED) records. Premises were recruited from four study areas by piloting four recruitment strategies of varying intensity. Thirty two licensed premises were grouped into matched pairs to reduce potential bias and randomly allocated to the control or intervention condition. The study included a nested process evaluation to provide information on intervention acceptability and implementation. Outcome measures included police-recorded violent incidents, assault-related attendances at each premises' local ED and patron Breath Alcohol Concentration assessed on exiting and entering study premises.


The most successful recruitment method involved local police licensing officers and yielded a 100% success rate. Police-records of violence provided the most appropriate source of data about disorder at the premises level.


The methodology of an exploratory trial is presented and despite challenges presented by the study environment it is argued an exploratory trial is warranted. Initial investigations in recruitment methods suggest that study premises should be recruited with the assistance of police officers. Police data were of sufficient quality to identify disorder and street surveys are a feasible method for measuring intoxication at the individual level.

Trial registration

UKCRN 7090; ISRCTN: 80875696


Medical Research Council (G0701758) to Simon Moore, Simon Murphy, Laurence Moore and Jonathan Shepherd