Council officers to visit venues after reports of spiking injections

Police will up their patrols in Nottingham city centre over the weekend
By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

Nottingham City Council will be holding talks with door staff and managers of nightclubs to ensure they have all the tools available to prevent people being spiked with drugs.

Nottinghamshire Police has received 44 spiking reports from September 4. 12 of these have alleged spiking incidents administrated by “something sharp” such as an injection. The first of these incidents was reported on October 2.

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 has also been reports of young men being potentially spiked too.

In one case an injury was also sustained “which could be consistent with a needle”, the force said.

Cllr Toby Neal (Lab), chair of the licensing committee at Nottingham City Council, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the reports were “worrying.”

The licensing committee has the authority to review or even close venues believed to be unsafe. They work closely with the police.

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.

“I don’t believe it only happens here. These stories break and they become much wider.

“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?

“Are there any venues we have got any concerns about? In the city centre – no.

“We do have a responsibility that licensed premises are run well. We don’t have any concerns at the moment, but it is ongoing.

“This is a criminal matter and subject to a police investigation.

“If police find concerns that link to the management of a premises, then there is a process of reviewing licences, which could mean licences are lost.

“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.

A 20-year-old man was arrested as part of a wider investigation into spiking after officers received a report of suspicious activity in Lower Parliament Street on October 16.

He remains on conditional bail and enquiries are continuing.

More officers have been deployed to the city centre over the next few weekends and a dedicated team of detectives are investigating these allegations.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “I would like to reassure people we are working incredibly hard to investigate these reports and are placing a lot of resources into these enquiries and also have a dedicated team of detectives working on any reports made to us.

“It is vital that we investigate any reports as quickly as possible which means being able to secure evidence really quickly.

“This gives us the best chance of being able to progress our investigations.

“One of the really important messages for anybody coming into our city centre is that we need you or your friends to report any incident as soon as possible.

“If you believe you have been spiked, feel you have been spiked, suspect anybody else has been spiked or see any suspicious activity we need you to report that immediately.

“There will be lots of officers in the city centre for you to report any concerns to but also we have trained employees at majority of the venues in the city who you will be able to speak to as well.

“These employees will know what to do and how to get that report to us.

“I cannot overstate the importance of reporting as quickly as possible.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry (Cons) said a “strategic approach” is being drawn up to tackle issues affecting Nottingham’s nightlife.

She said: “Enquiries into incidents of spiking are ongoing but I understand people are concerned about incidents like this.

“I am continuing to do my upmost to increase safety and feelings of safety. I have led discussions in the city to develop a strategic approach to tackling violence against women and girls in Nottingham’s nighttime economy.”

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