Council targets increase in drink and needle spiking

Published: Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Havering Council has teamed up with local nightclubs, pubs and bars to crack down on drink spiking and injections.

keeping people safer from the risk of drink spiking
Measures are in place to help keep people safer from the risks of drink and needle spiking.

Spiking someone’s drink or injecting someone with drugs via a needle or syringe has been a major concern across the country recently – with more incidents being reported.

The Council is supporting venues in Havering who are working hard to reduce the risk for punters and to ensure everyone can have a safe and enjoyable night out.

To curb the risks of needle spiking - robust searches of everyone entering into the venues have been stepped up.

This includes bag and body searches, along with the requirement to walk through detector arches. 

Venue staff are also trained up on what to look out for and act on any concerns or suspicious behaviour proactively in addition to this being reported to them.

Atik Nightclub and the Slug and Lettuce, both in South Street, Romford, are two such venues who have measures in place.

These include, providing clear cups with secure lids, tops for bottled drinks, and ensuring staff are trained to assist with any reporting of such concerns.

Kath, head of night-time door security at the Slug and Lettuce said:

“The toppers we have for people’s drinks will help enable them to keep their drinks more secure. 

“This year, even though Covid 19 is still with us, people can hopefully get the chance to socialise more this Christmas.

“We will be making sure that our staff will be vigilant especially around being aware of drink spiking.

"We want everyone who visits us to have a safe and enjoyable evening and feel they can approach our staff if they need help.”

Every Friday evening, all the different teams, from the Council’s enforcement and community safety teams, licensees, police as well as security staff and transport officers gather for a briefing.

They share any information that could be useful to help prevent common safety issues.

As well as keeping customers as safe as possible from the dangers of drink spiking, the venues also have a number of other measures in place to help people, including the safety of women.

These include:

  • dedicated male and female care ambassadors
  • metal detectors for customers to walk through
  • bag, and if needed, body searches
  • any glass items such as perfumes or aftershaves, kept securely at front of venue to be collected back afterwards
  • small bags or purses left in cloakroom for free
  • all staff trained for “Ask for Angela” scheme
  • a fully qualified medic available
  • a dedicated medical room on the premises
  • CCTV cameras and ID scanning systems
  • phone charging or the use of a phone if someone has lost theirs

Georgia, Assistant Manager of Atik nightclub, said:

“The policies we have in place are there to ensure those, including many young people who come through our doors, have an enjoyable and safe night out here in our club.

“If they need the help of our staff throughout the night, they know someone will be there to help them. From their arrival here right through to getting them home safely.”

Officers from the Council’s community safety and enforcement teams, are also on-hand to provide help throughout evening until the early hours of the next morning. 

This includes helping punters find taxis or providing safe routes to public transport. 

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Havering’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Safety, said:

“We are proud to have a strong working partnership with our local clubs, bars, pubs and restaurants, together with police and other emergency services.

“Between us all, we have measures in place to help people feel safe and to give them the confidence to ask for help if they need it.

“We also need residents and those visiting our town centres also to be our eyes and ears. Drink spiking and needle injections are happening without people knowing.

“If you see something and you have a concern, please make sure to tell staff at the venue, our enforcement teams or the police if needed.

“Many of these crimes are witnessed but often not reported. Please speak up to help increase your safety as well as others.”