By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
The chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police is urging revellers to ‘come to town, it’s safe’ in the wake of several alleged spiking incidents.
Craig Guildford said the force is working with partners, including Nottingham City Council, to ensure they “get to the bottom” of what has happened.
Mr Guildford, who has been a police officer since the 1990s, said he has never come across spiking by injection before and he will be upping patrols in the city centre.
He also told revellers to expect “more searches” at clubs over the coming days and weekends as the investigation continues.
He said several people have come forward to offer information about what they have witnessed and heard, and detectives are trawling “loads of CCTV” footage from venues to look for clues.
Police said there have been 12 alleged spiking incidents administrated by “something sharp” such as an injection.
The first of these incidents was reported on October 2.
But Mr Guildford said a few more people have come forward since and detectives have been working through these incidents this morning (October 21).
Reported offences have taken place on different days at different venues and are not believed to be targeted to one specific place.
The majority of reports are from young women, many of whom are students, but there have also been reports of young men being potentially spiked too.
There have been three reports of men being allegedly spiked.
Mr Guildford told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I am determined to get to the bottom of it and I am still keeping an open mind.
“Thank you to those people who have responded to the appeal and given us information. I want to reassure everyone this is a joined-up approach with lots of resources and there will be more officers on patrol.
“Also I want to provide a message that says ‘come to town, it is safe, there are lots of places to entertain you. Nottingham is a good, safe night out.”
He said since the news broke, he has been approached by other police forces who have also had similar reports.
These include in Lincoln, Cornwall and in Scotland.
“This is something that is distinctively different to what we have experienced previously in policing,” he added.
“It is unusual. I have never known of someone allegedly spiking someone with an implement.
“There are a lot of young people – students – that are concerned about this and it is important we convey the message ‘it is safe to come into town.’”
He said he is keeping an open mind on whether this is an individual or a group and is calling on people who believe they have been spiked to report it immediately.
He said reporting it as soon as it happens, even if a friend does it on their behalf, provides that “forensic window” to find out what substance has been administrated.
“This is something that is different and I want to look at every one of these cases carefully,” he added.
Cllr Toby Neal (Lab), chair of the licensing committee at Nottingham City Council, said council officers will be visiting venues.
The licensing committee has the authority to review or even close venues believed to be unsafe.
He said: “It is astonishing. There is a clearly a matter of concern here and we need to understand what is going on. It is really worrying. Are a group of blokes going around doing this stuff and what are we going to do to protect people?
“We don’t know until we have got a proper report back from the police. Some women feel threatened and assaulted and we have got to take that very seriously.
“From a local authority point of view we will work with the police and if they have identified a problem we will address these concerns.
“We will be having discussions with door staff about how they search for things. Knives are the dominant concern with venues, and it is relatively easy to find them on people, but do they look for other things as well?
“Council officers will be visiting venues about any concerns about what is happening and how they are managing these premises.”
Police said there have been no other linked offences committed as a result of anyone being spiked.