‘On the spot’ urine tests used to help detect Nottingham spiking incidents

By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

Police officers will be able to offer ‘on the spot’ urine tests for anyone believed to have been spiked in Nottingham.

Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry (Cons) has organised the tests after hearing how another force was combating a rise in spiking reports.

Mrs Henry said she had been in touch with the commissioner in Devon and Cornwall who had used the kit to tackle the problem.

The urine tests save the time it takes to conduct a toxicology report to detect and prove the presence of a suspicious substance in someone’s system, although more detailed tests may still be needed after using a kit.

It will also immediately inform the police if the person has a harmful spiking substance in their body and speeds up the investigation. Funding for the tests has come from the city’s Late Night Levy.

Mrs Henry said she has also invested in a number of metal detecting wands to be handed out to venues to ensure needles are not being brought into nightclubs.

Nottinghamshire Police were investigating 15 alleged spiking incidents administrated by something sharp such as a needle injection in October.

Reported offences had 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.

It is not known if any further reports have been made in November.

Mrs Henry said she now expects a “100 per cent search” of anyone entering the city’s nightclubs and was working with venues to make sure this happens.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There is 1,000 urine tests and it makes it easier to determine if someone has been spiked rather than wait for toxicology reports.

“I would say: ‘Come to Nottingham, it is a fantastic night-out, but look out for each other.”

She revealed the methods that were being used, which includes enhanced training for door staff, at a Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Panel at County Hall on Monday, November 15.

Councillors wanted to know what was being done to ensure these incidents were being addressed.

She said Operation Windblown had been launched as soon as spiking by needle reports were made across Nottingham.

Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Craig Guildford, said every report was being taken seriously and the force had made arrests, but the suspects had all been released on bail.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Service in October, he said: “This is something that is distinctively different to what we have experienced previously in policing.

“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.’”

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