Soaring spikes in UK nightclubs have been a cause for concern for university students. A recent report by The Tab showed that 11% of college students believed their drinks had been spiked. The Alcohol Education Trust found that more than 1 in 10 young adults had been a victim of doping.
Fortified drinks – and those using more sinister methods such as direct needle injections – have reached alarming levels in the UK, particularly over the past year.
Students have reported feeling terrified of going out at night because of it. “I haven’t seen a single woman carrying a drink, and I think people get a lot less drunk than they would, just because people are terrified,” said a student from the University of Durham. The morning announcer.
Last year, women from across the country participated in a massive boycott of British nightclubsmany of whom participated due to their own personal experiences and security concerns.
Given this, it is only natural that local and international students will demand that more measures be taken to ensure their safety in bars and clubs across the country. The government is already taking steps to tackle this problem, recently announcing the formation of a new working group to combat spikes in needle and drink consumption in universities.
However, if a change is to occur, UK nightclubs and bars should put their own precautions in place. Some are already introducing new measures that can improve the safety of students – and the wider club community – both from fortified drink and other risks.
Here’s an overview of the safety measures currently in place in UK nightclubs and bars, and how you can use them for a stress-free night out:
The “Ask Angela” campaign
If you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened in a bar or club, you can approach any member of staff and ask or mention Angela. This code word is a signal to staff that you need help or assistance, whether in the form of hailing you a cab, making sure you are not alone, or calling security or the police.
The campaign, which was launched to better help people who feel unsafe in UK nightclubs and bars, is currently being supported by the Metropolitan Police in a bid to increase public safety. Not all bars and clubs have adopted the scheme, but those that do will usually have “Ask For Angela” signs in the women’s restrooms.
Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Potter says he’s been asked the question a number of times, most of them by women.
“They’re basically saying, ‘Can you keep an eye on this guy? He makes me uncomfortable”, Potter said to the mirror. “I probably get this at least once a night, maybe three or four times a night – it’s just girls coming up to me. They might say ‘he kicked my butt’, in which case he is expelled. Any inappropriate contact, they are expelled immediately.
The diet was appreciated for its simplicity and the fact that it does not require significant training for staff members beyond understanding how to recognize clients in vulnerable situations.
It’s not uncommon these days to find entrances to UK nightclubs and bars blocked off with metal detectors or other security screens. A few clubs, including PRYZM and Ministry of Sound, already have it in place.
Most also enforce stricter ID checks, requiring authentic government-issued documents before revelers are allowed entry.
Some UK nightclubs are taking extra precautions on this front. For example, The Bullingdon in Oxford runs body palpations of every man entering the room, the only club to do so. The club said that while some substances will still be allowed, all sharp objects, including needles and knives, will be confiscated.
The players’ bar in Birmingham has introduced similar measures, reporting to The Birmingham Tab that he “reinforced [its] body search at the entrance. This includes searching for bags for women and refusing entry to men with bags, except for a proven health reason.
Cup covers to avoid loaded drinks
As fortified drinks become a bigger threat to students, bars and clubs have started to introduce lids for glasses and cups. The University of Sheffield Students’ Union has introduced drink covers, known as “Spike”, in all its bars. Other clubs and bars provide cling film or bottle caps to cover drinks.
Sheffield’s Leadmill has started employing more staff to collect unattended drinks and empty glasses.
Royal Holloway Students’ Union also offers a range of anti-spike products, including Spikeys, StopTopps and NightCap scrunchies.
If you’re worried about the threat of doping, be sure to ask a bartender or staff member at your venue for a drink cover.
Using Fortified Drink Test Strips
Some clubs have started randomly testing unattended drinks or providing such tapes to affected patrons. The Lincoln Home Nightclub uses this strategy to keep clubbers safe:
“We have, for some time, had the ability to instantly test drinks for any substance, if a customer is concerned or suspects a drink has been adulterated,” said David Nejrup, Chief Operating Officer. told the Lincolnite Last year.
Such test strips are designed to detect minimum standard doses of commonly used doping substances or “date-rape” drugs, including ketamine and GHB.
To use them, the user simply needs to drop a small amount of liquid onto the test patch using a straw, finger, stirrer, or other methods. The test strip will turn red or blue, depending on the presence of medication.
Have first aiders on site
Some clubs and bars across the UK have fully qualified first aiders or medics on hand throughout the night. Others provide their employees with first aid training to ensure they are better equipped to help vulnerable or injured customers.
Many have also introduced signs around their premises explaining what to do if customers feel unsafe or suspect their drink has been spiked.
Increase in patrols
West Street Live, a dance club in Sheffield, has a number of precautions in place to prevent doping or help those who have been affected by doped drinks. This includes regular patrols by male and female staff around the premises.
The Birmingham plant employed more senior female staff and security in the building, and The Bullingdon in Oxford establish patrols of toilets and premises every 30 minutes.