Nearly 20% of clubbers attending a nightclub in Lowestoft tested positive for drugs as they walked in.
Officers from the local police station teamed up with the Venue at Claremont Pier for a proactive evening.
Overall 3 crimes were recorded – two for possession of cocaine and one for cannabis.
Anti-spiking cup covers were also given out to clubbers.
The Neighbourhood Partnership Team with support from the Kestrel* team for the east teamed up with the Venue nightclub at the Claremont Pier to conduct hand drug swabs as a condition of entry.
This involves the customer rubbing a swab between their fingers, before being put in a machine which gives an immediate reading to indicate if there is contamination with drugs.
A total of 155 people were tested and from those, the machine alarm sounded 27 times detecting contamination of drugs. From these alerts the machine detected predominantly cocaine, but also traces of cannabis, heroin and ketamine. Of the 27 alarms, 16 were of ‘actionable’ strength meaning the reading was significant enough to escort the customer to the quiet room to discuss the reading and consider further action if necessary.
Officers also used powers under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 10 times to search people. Overall, three crimes were recorded – two for possession of cocaine and one for possession of cannabis. Anti-spiking cup covers were also handed out to customers.
Sgt Rob Meen who led the initiative said: “This was a joint venture between police and the nightclub with the club very supportive and this overwhelming backing clearly demonstrates their ‘no tolerance’ policy of drugs on their premises.
“The feedback from customers on the swabbing was very positive with people saying such action made them feel safe – a comment made by many female customers in particular, others saying what a good idea it was and even describing the action as ‘phenomenal’ and ‘brilliant’.
“Everyone has the right to enjoy a night out in a safe environment. We continue to work closely with local authorities and licensed premises to put in measures to reduce offending, reassure the public and support the night-time economy industry.”
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I’m really pleased to hear the drug-checking event in Lowestoft was such a success. I’d like to pass on my gratitude to the Venue for their support, their zero-tolerance attitude is exactly what we need.”
“Keeping everyone safe when they are out enjoying themselves is crucially important, and especially important for women who are sadly often more vulnerable when out enjoying the so-called, night time economy. It is particularly pleasing to see the comments from the female customers who clearly appreciate this proactive approach to drugs and spiking.
“The Kestrel teams were introduced to tackle criminal threats and challenges that emerge in a targeted area and this clearly shows the investment is paying dividends.”
*There are three Neighbourhood Crime Proactive teams or ‘Kestrel’ teams across the county – for the east, south and west of Suffolk. They can deploy into particular area to target crime and engage with communities. The teams will support community and local policing priorities through community engagement, tackling criminality and dealing with anti-social behaviour.
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