Nightclubs are “working hard” to keep people safe following a rise in cases of spiking, an industry association leader has said. Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said venues were well regulated, but his organisation was working with the government to introduce schemes to help tackle the problem.
A sharp increase in the spiking of drinks has resulted in a backlash with students and young people in the UK set to participate in a series of boycotts to the countries nightclub scene.
Reports of spiking throughout the UK have significantly increased in recent weeks, with data released by the National Police Chiefs Council on Wednesday revealing that 56 people had been spiked by injection and a further 198 via their drinks in September and October.
The boycott entitled “Girls Night In” is set to take place in 45 cities across the UK to demand a response from authorities amid outrage on social media, and will see people boycott nightclubs in favour of a ‘night in’ instead.
The campaign is demanding more rigorous searches on the doors of clubs, drinks covers to protect from things being dropped into them, additional staff training and dedicated welfare officers tasked with ensuring people get home safely.
Earlier this month The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) urged the Home Office to launch an inquiry into the increase of drink spiking at pubs and clubs.
“The NTIA are very concerned to learn about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents taking place across the country,” Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA said. “We support all those coming forward to speak about their experiences. It goes without saying that everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without fearing for their own safety, and we are saddened to hear that some don’t feel this way.”
He continued: “There is a lot that we as a sector are already doing to try to tackle drink spiking. In response to recent reports, operators across the country have been working with the police, local authorities and key stakeholders, focusing on safeguarding customers, particularly women, at night.
“It varies by region, but many cities already have well-established networks amongst operators and community support representatives, and work very closely with authorities, communicating on a regular basis to highlight increases in crime or disorder.”
Organisers of the Girls’ Night In campaign in Nottingham said on social media: “Spiking has become an epidemic. Never before have we heard of so many students waking up with no memory of what had happened the night before.
“This is not getting “black-out drunk”, this is getting drugged and is something that can be changed.
“We are asking clubs and bars to increase their entry security. We are asking clubs and bars to provide free drink protection devices (drink divers etc.)
“We are asking clubs and bars to provide a clear and obvious medical centre and a safe way to get home.
“This is not a stay at home message. This is asking our students to protest against the clubs and bars.
“They are not responding to our complaints, so we must make them.”
A Government petition to “make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry” has received over 150,000 signatures in recent weeks.