From Devon & Cornwall Police:
For the first time in the UK, police and pubs are working together to trial an innovative new approach to tackle the growing issue of drink spiking in bars and pubs.
The pilot will be run in association with Best Bar None and local bars in Plymouth and will see bars supplied with drink testing kits so that they can test drinks onsite within a very short space of time. Response officers will be issued with urine testing kits to enable them to secure evidence to combat drink spiking if it occurs.
If this trial is successful, it is hoped that it could be rolled out across other towns and cities in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, and shared with police forces across the county.
The initial test period will last for three months and is to run from Tuesday 19th March to 23rd June 2019.
Drink spiking occurs when a drug or alcohol is added to a person’s drink without them knowing about it. Bar staff will be on hand to help any customer who may think their drink may have been spiked and will be able to test on the spot. If the drink is found to contain a dangerous substance, the customer will be taken to a safe place and the police will be called who will then secure further samples and evidence to help combat this issue.
Licensing Sergeant, David Moore, of Devon & Cornwall Police said: “We have a good working relationship with many bars and clubs in Plymouth and with Best Bar None which is why we are collaborating with them for this campaign. It is hoped that by providing these tests, drink spiking can be reduced or prevented. It could also reduce the risk of related incidents such as road traffic collisions due to impaired judgement. Often people don’t report drink spiking because they don’t remember the details or they feel embarrassed. If anyone is concerned that their drink has been spiked, they will now be able to approach bar staff for help.”
Lewis Wilson of Best Bar None added, “ Plymouth BBN is always keen to support safety initiatives such as this as they complement the existing range of measures our venues have in place. None of our venues has an issue with drink spiking, but having the tools to deal with any customer concerns onsite will ensure any incidents that arise will be taken care of quickly and effectively. Customer safety and welfare within Plymouth’s Evening and Night Time Economy remain the highest priority for BBN and its members.”
Marcus Lewis, bar manager at Switch Bar Plymouth said “We welcome this pilot scheme as an addition to our existing safety measures. We want customers to have fun during their time here, we also want to make sure they are safe. Hopefully, anyone considering spiking drinks in our bar will think again when they realise that we can test drinks and people for signs of spiking and that we will act quickly to work with police in the event of any incidences of drink spiking.”
The campaign will include posters and stickers that can be strategically placed in bars and clubs to warn that the venue is #SpikeAware and to encourage anyone who has concerns to contact bar staff.
Drink spiking is illegal and can result in a minimum of 10 years in prison for anyone who is found guilty of doing it.
For more information about drink spiking, how to avoid it and what to do if you think have been a victim of this crime visit: www.dc.police.uk/spiking.