Undercover police to patrol Lancashire's pubs and clubs in Christmas spiking crackdown
Lancashire Police has launched a new anti-spiking operation to help make pubs and clubs safer in the run up to the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The force said plain clothed police officers will be patrolling bars, clubs and pubs across the county this Christmas to deter and detect spiking offences.
Operation Night Guardian begins tonight (Friday, December 10) and will see both uniformed and undercover officers visiting nightspots across Lancashire, including Preston, Blackpool, and Lancaster.
Those in uniform will be there to reassure revellers whilst undercover officers will be entering clubs to look out for "suspicious activity and behaviour".
Funded by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, the patrols aim to provide a safer environment for women after a number of spiking incidents at nightspots in recent months.
Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: "This operation will act as a clear deterrent to anyone considering committing this type of crime or any other crime for that matter.
"Everyone should be able to go on a night out feeling safe and the knowledge that our officers are out there to target offenders will provide additional reassurance.
"I will continue to work closely with the Constabulary and our partners in the night time economy to ensure that people across Lancashire can enjoy their night out without worrying about drink spiking."
There will also be street pastors and other support workers in busy areas who can give both emotional and practical help to those who may be in need of care during a night out.
A range of practical measures will be introduced to help prevent and detect spiking offences, including the roll-out of special drink testing kits.
These kits will allow police and licensees to test any drinks that people fear have been spiked, allowing them to act quickly and identify potential suspects.
The force hopes this will deter spiking by making it more difficult for the offenders whilst also increasing the risk of them getting caught.
The officer leading the operation, Chief Inspector Jill Halliwell, said: "We want people to feel reassured that they can enjoy a safe night out with friends or family.
"We already police the night-time economy and have good relationships with licenses but Operation Night Guardian will build on that work targeting amongst other things, offences of suspected drink spiking."
Lancashire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Ian Dawson added: "We know that drink spiking is an issue of concern for people and, whilst we have had a limited number of reports in Lancashire, we want to reassure the public that we are responding positively to their concerns and taking firm action to ensure they can enjoy their nights out safely.
"Over the coming weeks and months, together with licensees, we will be using a range of tactics to keep people safe and doing all we can to identify offenders, gain evidence and pursue criminal prosecutions for offences including spiking."