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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire Constabulary launches anti drink spiking initiative

Gloucestershire Constabulary is working with nightclubs and pubs across the county to launch an anti-drink spiking initiative.

The anti-drink spiking campaign which launches today, Wednesday 1 September, aims to help target the nationwide issue and numerous key licenced premises and night clubs have signed up to take part.

These night time venues have recently been provided with specialist anti-drink spiking test swab kits which allow for drinks to be tested if someone feels that their drink has been tampered with.

Training has been given to staff and a number of police officers around how to use the test cup kits to ensure there is a robust procedure in place. This will allow customers in these venues who suspect that their drink may have been tampered with or 'spiked' to get peace of mind in knowing it has been tested for traces of drugs.

Nationally statistics show that women between the ages of 18 and 50 are commonly targeted however this campaign is aimed at people of all genders and ages.

There was a huge reduction in incidents due to establishments being closed during the Coronavirus pandemic however incidents are now starting to rise again with people recently being affected in Cheltenham and Gloucester. This is thought to be linked to the higher number of night time economy premises in the areas.

David McFarlane, head of Police Licensing said: "Our licensed premises in the county are extremely safe and this is another major initiative to reassure and improve the customer experience.

"We do get very few spiking incidents reported but it is important to us that we get an accurate picture of the problem, can raise awareness and give victims the support they require.

"The welfare of the person involved is our main concern and cases where a drink has been spiked will be investigated. The measures being brought in aim to give venues the tools they need to help ensure the safety of their patrons and for our officers to be better equipped to assist at the earliest opportunity."

PC Matt Hammond, a licensing officer who oversees the Gloucester and Forest areas, added: "Drink spiking is something we have been aware of for many years and we have run various awareness raising campaigns including the use of anti-spike bottle caps.

"With a recent change in drinking trends, we have issued many licensed premises with drug testing cards enabling customers to have drinks tested if they become suspicious or realise, they have left them unsupervised. Police have also been trained in the use of drug testing measures specifically designed to tackle drink spiking incidents.

"In Gloucester we are promoting changes within licensed premises to stop people leaving drinks unattended whilst they use smoking areas, ATIK nightclub is the first to implement this change and will no longer allow customers to leave drinks outside the smoking area.

"One of the difficulties we have is that when we introduce these initiatives people automatically assume the local area or venue is doing so because they have an issue, this is not the case. Reports of drink spiking are no worse in Gloucester than Cheltenham or any other city for that matter. We have no specific premises in Gloucester with an issue and on average we have a similar number of reports each month.

"Studies have shown a large number of reports are simply down to people drinking too much too fast but that being said drink spikes do occur, they are real and when they happen, we want to be able to help and investigate them.

"Drink spiking has always been seen as a crime designed to inebriate people with the intention to gain something be that a robbery or sexual and I would urge people not to leave drinks unattended and therefore remove the opportunity and keep safe."

More information on drink spiking can be found here: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/staying-safe-while-drinking/drink-spiking-and-date-rape-drugs/ 

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