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Kits that test drinks in Nottinghamshire bars for banned substances launched

A brand-new scheme testing people’s drinks for banned substances is now live in bars and venues.

Drink testing kits have been distributed out to a number of licensed premises across Worksop to add that extra safety net for those enjoying a night out or drink in the town.

The kits which test for drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, street GHB and rohypnol are now behind bars in a variety of venues with staff also receiving training on what to do.

The scheme has been created by Ask for Angela creator Inspector Hayley Crawford with one simple aim – to help our communities feel safe.

Simple to use and effective the staff member simply dips a swab into the suspected spiked drink and places it onto a test square, before waiting only 10 seconds for a positive or negative result.

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If a test is positive the drink will be carefully secured, and police called.

This initiative is just another way we’re helping to make sure people feel safe when out in our town’s venues – reminding them help is always there should it be needed.

Inspector Crawford first piloted the scheme in Lincoln as a way to make the community feel more confident that their drinks could be tested if they believed they had been spiked.

“Keeping our communities safe, and the public knowing they have this safety net surrounding them on nights out is so important”, Inspector Crawford said. 

The District Commander for Bassetlaw added: “I know what it’s like you’re on a night out with friends and you may not be 100% about your drink or are worried something could have been put in it. 

“This scheme is something I devised back in 2017 with the idea being if somebody thinks their drink has been spiked, they can ask the bar to check it. It’ll then either prove there is a substance in the drink, or it will stop that person’s fears, and they can carry on enjoying their night.

“To have something like this in place it creates another safety net for people. 

“Just like Ask for Angela, I hope no one ever needs it but say someone’s brought you a drink and you don’t know them and aren’t quite sure what’s in it you can just have it tested.

“I wouldn’t have been able to launch this without working with our partners and the bars in the area – it’s essential we all work together to get that message across and provide that safety in our community. 

“This scheme is there for you, whether you’re a man or woman anyone can use it – all we want is to make anyone enjoying their drink or night out feel safe.”

The scheme follows the re-launch of Ask for Angela across venues in Bassetlaw last year.

Ask for Angela allows women and men in unsafe situations to use a “safe word” when they feel they are in danger or in an uncomfortable setting.

Angela is a fictitious character and allows venue staff trained via Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid to take the person to a safe place and support and assist them.

Councillor Lynne Schuller, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “Drink testing is another way to ensure that you can be safe on a night out and is an essential part of the work we are doing with partners to increase the feeling of safety, reduce anti-social behaviour and highlight the issues faced predominantly by women and girls.

“As part of Safer Streets in Bassetlaw, we are already helping to improve the safety of people on a night out with additional CCTV in key locations, more Refuge Points in the town centre, issuing panic alarms, and working with Notts Women’s aid to train staff in licensed venues about violence against women and girls.

“We’re delighted that we are able to use this Safer Streets funding to widen the safety net with an overall aim to reduce this offending behaviour and increasing enjoyment when visiting local venues. This also offers greater reassurance and strengthens our partnership work with bars and pubs in Worksop and Nottinghamshire Police.”

Supported with money from the Safer Streets funding obtained by Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner the scheme is now up and running.

Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We’re pioneers here in Nottinghamshire, and we’ve worked really hard to secure £3 million of Safer Streets funding from the Home Office which helps to make a massive difference here in Worksop.

“What’s great about this innovative scheme is the way all the partners are working together in Worksop to make sure people feel safe to have a good night out.

“This is a really good safety net.”

Sally Gillborn MBE, chief executive at North Notts BID, said: “We’re proud to be supporting the rollout of drink testing kits and relevant staff training to hospitality businesses in Worksop.

“Following the success of the Night Angels scheme on Saturday nights during the summer, we are continuing to explore ways to provide premises with all the support measures that they need.

“The testing kits will further reassure the public that they can enjoy a drink in our venues and have a safer night-time experience on our high streets.”

If you believe your drink has been spiked and are at a venue in Worksop, please make your way to the bar and ask for it to be tested.

Remember to always dial 999 in an emergency.

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