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All visitors to Why Not, in George Street, will now be searched on entry, with its new ‘Night Watch’ service making it easy for clubbers to report suspicious behaviour as well as descriptions of people through the venue’s website or WhatsApp messenger. This will then allow management to investigate claims through the club’s CCTV and give immediate assistance.
Posters with the link and QR code to the website will be located around Why Not, which has an advanced CCTV system covering the whole venue inside and outside as well as all bar and service areas.
A spokesman for the club, which works closely with Police Scotland, the Edinburgh Licensing Board and welfare and first aid charity Street Assist, said: “We are extremely saddened to hear that some people feel that they cannot enjoy a night out without fearing for their safety.
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“The safety of our customers is our top priority and while we are proud of our record, we have been shocked to see the levels of growing concern and experiences being expressed by people across the country.
“In response, we have rolled out our Night Watch service and imposed a new rule where everyone is searched on entry.”
It comes after a number of reports of spiking by injection in several Scottish cities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. Victims have reported being more drunk than usual before finding puncture wounds in their skin and Police Scotland said it is carrying out enquiries into "a small number" of spiking reports.
The spokesman for Why Not said staff will report any serious incidents to police.
“We will investigate incidents and will ensure that serious incidents are reported to Police Scotland,” he said.
“We would encourage anyone who believes they have been put in danger or has witnessed threatening behaviour to report this immediately to the venue and Police Scotland by calling 101.”
He added: “Anyone caught endangering the safety of others in the venue will not only receive a lifetime ban but we will provide detailed CCTV footage and statements to ensure we can assist Police Scotland with their investigations.”
Security protocols already in place at the club include a full risk assessment outlining all control measures, a team of security in excess of the industry standard, an increased umber of floor staff to monitor all areas of the venue and remove unattended drinks and first aid trained members of management on shift.
Anti-drink spiking devices are also available at the bar and staff are trained in the ‘Ask Angela’ and ‘Angel Shot’ safety initiatives, which encourage anyone who feels unsafe or uncomfortable to approach the bar and say the code words which will prompt staff to help them get away or go home.
“Our aim is to provide a safe space for all to enjoy and we are continually working to improve and adapt our existing policies and procedures,” said the spokesman.