Emergency meeting called over Preston spiking reports
An emergency meeting was held of Preston hospitality businesses and police as fears of spiking in the city’s clubs and bars increase.
The crime, where a person puts a drug into a reveller’s drink or actually injects a drug into another person, has hit the headlines recently with the number of reported cases rocketing.
In Preston, reports of spiking incidences against young women in clubs and bars last weekend have sparked action.
Three women claimed to have been injected at Switch nightclub on Saturday, whilst another woman suspects she was spiked at Blitz nightclub that same night.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said today: “We can confirm we attended the meeting.
“We appreciate there is a great deal of concern surrounding these reports and we are taking these concerns very seriously.
“We will continue to support Preston BID and our licensees in this matter and work closely together to ensure the safety of all.”
Mark Whittle, manager of the Preston City Centre Business Improvement District, which supports businesses such as clubs, bars, shops restaurants in the city centre, said: “Safety has always been a priority for the BID and Preston’s hospitality companies.
“In response to increased concerns about spiking, BID coordinated a meeting on Thursday, attended by the vast majority of Preston’s licensed premises with the police and council, to ensure that robust procedures are in place across all venues.
“These measures include, but aren’t limited to, increased searching upon entry, additional floor patrols, drinks covers, and increased vigilance.
“Working with venues, and the Lancashire Post, we’ve put together a ‘Top Ten Tips’ video to remind people about personal safety on a night out, in Preston, or anywhere.
“The reporting of spiking incidences are isolated, but venues, together with the authorities, are committed to ensuring Preston remains a safe place to visit end enjoy.”
Following last weekend’s reported incidents, police in Preston have issued a video statement following the reports and issued advice on how people can keep themselves safe.
In the video, Rhiana Clarkson, a police community support officer at Preston Police, explained what the force was doing to tackle the issue, and issued advice on how members of the public can stay safe.
Rhiana said: “We’re working with BID Preston partners, licensed venues and the council to make sure that people feel safe when they’re out with friends and out with family drinking in Preston city centre.
“We’re going to increase patrols in the centre and feel free to approach us when you see us if anything goes wrong, if you’re feeling like you have been spiked or your friend needs help."
The Preston incidents come following a spate in drink and injection spikings across the country, which in turn have led to a string of club boycotts nationwide this week.
The Drinkaware advice group says injection using needles is rare, but putting drugs such as ketamine, so-called date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol and Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) in drinks is more likely.
It said never leave your drink unattended, whether it’s alcoholic or not, don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know and stick together as a group and look out for each other.