A multi-component Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) program has been disseminated in Swedish municipalities. The aim of the program is to reduce violence associated with consumption of alcohol at on-licensed premises. This study aimed to analyse the effect of the program on police-recorded assaults after the dissemination of the program in Swedish municipalities, 1996-2009.
This study is a natural experiment that uses variation in the level of implementation of the RBS program to predict change in the rate of police-recorded assaults.
The municipalities included in the study initiated the RBS program no later than 2008. On-licensed premises open during the evenings must exist. Out of 290 municipalities, 237 fulfilled these requirements.
Program fidelity was studied by means of several surveys. Yearly data on police-recorded assaults, per 100,000 inhabitants aged 15 and above, committed on weekend nights, were used as dependent variable. A fixed effects panel data regression model was used to examine the effect of the program.
Each extension of the program, by one component, was associated with a significant 3.1% reduction in assaults. However, this effect was mainly seen in smaller municipalities. Of the different components of the program, the presence of a community coalition steering group had a significant effect on assaults. No significant effect was found regarding RBS training or supervision of on-licensed premises.
Multi-component Responsible Beverage Service programs can have a significant effect on police-recorded assaults even when implemented on a large scale in many communities.
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