The supposed ‘spiking epidemic’
The reported increase in the number of instances of spiking at some UK universities has resulted in a supposed online campaign to boycott nightclubs. The petition to “Make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry” has been circulated and gained 130,000 signatures. Despite the wave of social media attention, West Midlands Police have said “it is unclear what has happened, we don’t know if there is more of it (spiking by injection) happening.”
Medical professionals have spoken out on the recent news of a rising trend of spiking via injections. Founder of drug testing project WEDINOS, told VICE News: “The technical and medical knowledge required to perform this would make this deeply improbable.” Senior scientist at drugs charity the Loop commented that most date rape drugs would need to be administered in large quantities with thick needles. Spiking drinks with drugs and alcohol is nothing new and has been addressed multiple times by nightlife industry leaders.
The industry wants to assure students and club-goers that nightclubs and bars are some of the safest places to visit at all times of the day. Nightclub managers and investigating police have been asked by the government to give reasonable evidence they are acting against the so-called spiking epidemic.
8 tips nightclubs can use to help prevent spiking
At NDML, our mission is to help and protect nightclub and nightlife venue owners. We have put together 8 useful tips as to how operators can make reasonable adjustments to help prevent spiking.
1. Cling film lids
This is not a perfect nor permanent solution, however a Cambridge club night manager says it provides an “extra layer of assurance” to customers. Anything that makes slipping something into drink more difficult is helpful, however this would only be a temporary, cheap solution.
2. Drink stoppers
Stoppers physically prevent drinks being spiked. They build up pressure to stop substances being put down the straw. They often come in bright colours to signify they are protected. These can be purchased by venue owners and managers and distributed alongside a customer’s drink.
3. Employing testing kits
Drinks can be checked if they been spiked with drugs through the use of a testing kit. Test strips can be purchased easily enough online and will instantly detect if a drink has been spiked. Nightclubs could keep these behind the bar to help verify whether drug spiking is taking place.
4. Searches before entering
A popular suggestion among a minority of customers; it is expected that searches would solve the problem of rogue items entering dancefloors. However, many in the nightlife industry know from experience that this often does not work to prevent illegal substances, will generally be met by resistance from all customers, and will require extra staff on the door. It is an option that could be considered by clubs planning to run student knights where searches may be met with less resistance, under the current climate.
5. Re-train Staff
Clubs should ensure all staff members understand the company protocols and rules around drug ingestion. What to do in specific situations should be written up as well as education on the signs of a spiked individual. There should be a procedure in place to deal with reports on spiking.
6. Ask for Angela
Ask for Angela is the name of a campaign in England that started in 2016 that is used by bars and other venues to keep people safe from sexual assault by using a codeword to identify when they are in danger or are in an uncomfortable situation.
7. Have a site medic on hand
A trained professional on hand through the night, perhaps a member of staff, there to make sure customers are appropriately looked after. Site medics should know how to use equipment such as defibrillators and be in close contact with the emergency services.
8. Marketing material on display
Informational posters for both staff and customers can be on display in or outside your bar, warning people of the dangers and ramifications of spiking.
At NDML, we have curated some marketing material free to use for bar and nightclub owners. These posters are available to download, print off and stick up in our outside your venues. They can also be shared on social media alongside the hashtag Stop Nightclub Spiking – #stopnightclubspiking.
Stop Nightclub Spiking posters
It’s NDML’s mission to offer advice and guidance to nightlife professionals. We know the importance of nightclubs and bars to our culture and that is why they require protection. To get in touch with us, call 0344 488 9205, or enquire online below. Also take the time to read our Risk Management Checklist; make sure your venue can control and identify the main risks facing your business.