The study, commissioned by the city’s alcohol licensing unit, sent young actors pretending to be drunk to bars in the city, where they asked for a drink,
The ‘drunk’ women were refused service 29 times out of 31 attempts, or 91 percent of the time.
The men were refused 41 times out of 58 attempts, meaning that they were only turned down 71 percent of the time.
Marie Pauly, head of the licensing unit, said she thought the difference was down to concern for the drunk women.
“I think it’s easier to understand their vulnerability as potential victims of violence,” she said.
But a very different explanation was put forward as the study was presented on Tuesday. Drunk men can appear more aggressive to bar staff, and intimidate them into serving a drink. The fact that female bar staff in the study served drunk men more often than male bar staff backs up this theory, it was claimed.
Similar tests using actors to test how bar staff handle drunk guests have been performed in some 40 towns in Sweden, but until now only using men. Malmö is the first place where women have also been involved.
The results as a whole were positive for Malmö, a city with a high concentration of bars, pubs and clubs, where some bars have a reputation for violence at weekends. In total 79 percent of the ‘drunk’ actors were refused service. In a similar study in Stockholm in 2002, 70 percent were turned down, and in 2003 in Gothenburg the figure was only 50 percent.
The relatively good figures in Malmö are being put down to cooperation between the council, the police and bar owners. But Marie Pauly says she sees no reason to be satisfied.
“One in five of them was actually served,” she says.