Bristol police and nightclubs to get drink spiking test kits in trial

‘Many crimes against women at night go unreported but widely witnessed,’ night-time advisor says

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 10 November 2021 17:48 GMT
<p>Bristol City Council is set to receive funding from the Home Office aimed at supporting women’s safety </p>

Bristol City Council is set to receive funding from the Home Office aimed at supporting women’s safety

Drink spiking test kits are set to be rolled out across police stations and dozens of night-time venues in Bristol as part of a trial.

Funding will also go towards providing kits to check whether drinks have been tampered with for police to use on call-outs, after the council sucessfully bid for government funding for initiatives to support women’s safety.

The Home Office said the measure will “enable officers to test drinks on the spot preventing assaults and helping them to gain early evidence for any investigation”.

Nightclubs across the country are also introducing drink testing kits, along with full body searches and other safety measures, amid student boycotts and calls for greater action to tackle spiking.

Around 200 drink spiking incidents have been reported to police across the UK in recent months, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said.

Several police forces are also investigating reports of people being spiked with injections.

While clubs are introducing more drink spiking kits, the Warehouse Project founder told The Independent the Manchester club night has started to roll out urine tests onsite for clubbers who fear they may have been spiked.

In Devon and Cornwall, urine testing kits are available in police stations, while drink spiking kits are available in bars across the region.

A health leader previously told The Independent A&E departments do not generally test people who fear they have had their drink spiked.

Bristol City Council is set to get the cash for drink spiking kits as part of a government fund for initiatives for women’s safety at night.

It will also receive £150,000 to develop and deliver training and an awareness campaign to help night-time venues tackle sexual harassment.

Carly Heath, Bristol’s night-time economy advisor, said: “Our bid was based on the knowledge that many crimes against women at night go unreported but widely witnessed.”

Police in northwest England will also get funding for pilot schemes involving volunteer taxi mashals, who will provide support and prevent pick-ups from unregistered taxis to help women get home.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, said: “Working with the police, local authorities and venues these innovative projects will identify and crack down on those who pose a risk and give women the practical support when they need it.”

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