Following a drink testing pilot by Devon and Cornwall police, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says the Home office should work with the night time industry so that ‘lessons can be applied to the industry and policing nationally.’
It comes as many people have shared their recent and past experiences across the UK of being spiked in nightclubs after lockdown rules were removed.
Police in Scotland are investigating claims of ‘spiking’ by injection in nightclubs amid the huge rise in reports across the UK.
The NTIA has also commented that widespread drink testing amongst customers in clubs should be introduced to ensure people can enjoy a night out safely and without fear.
The comments come as groups from more than 30 universities around the UK have joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of nightclubs, with campaigners seeking “tangible” changes to make them safer, such as covers/stoppers for drinks, better training for staff and more rigorous searches of clubbers.
The NTIA CEO noted that the association is ‘very concerned’ and said they support all those coming forward to speak about their experiences.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, commented: “It goes without saying that everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without fearing for their own safety, and we are saddened to hear that some don’t feel this way.
“The truth is though, very real challenges still exist.
"We have been particularly encouraged to see the progressive approach taken by Devon and Cornwall Police through their drink spiking testing pilot.
"The Home Office should launch a formal inquiry to examine the results of that pilot, and the lessons that can be applied to the industry and policing nationally. The scheme found that through having on-site testing available in the night time economy, data could be collected that would provide a more accurate picture.
"Having testing available and clearly communicating this to customers was also found to have de-escalated situations - where tested drinks came back negative - and generally provided reassurance to customers who had spiking concerns.
"We believe the widespread implementation of these measures – to complement existing routine duty of care measures – is an important step in making sure everyone can enjoy a night out safely and without fear, as it should be.
"The Home Office should work with the industry as part of this inquiry, and also speak to campaign groups and listen to their concerns.”
Mr Kill noted that there is ‘a lot’ the sector is doing to tackle drink spiking.
He said: “In response to recent reports, operators across the UK have been working with the police, local authorities and key stakeholders, focusing on safeguarding customers, particularly women, at night.
"It varies by region, but many cities already have well-established networks amongst operators and community support representatives, and work very closely with authorities, communicating on a regular basis to highlight increases in crime or disorder.”
“We would always recommend that anyone who has any concerns about the way they are feeling within a venue, for whatever reason, speaks to a member of staff and asks for assistance.”