Anti-drink spiking tests to be given to Manchester clubs after GirlsNightIn campaign

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It is part of a new Anti-Spiking Partnership which will be set up after the issue led to protests and a venue boycott.

Anti-spiking test kits are to be rolled out across venues in Manchester as part of a new effort to tackle the problem.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and his night-time economy advisor Sacha Lord have announced they are committing to setting up an Anti-Spiking Partnership.

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The issue of drinks being spiked recently hit the headlines after young women shared stories of having substances added to their drinks, leading to public fury, a boycott of venues and hundreds of people protesting in Manchester city centre.

The new measures come after Mr Burnham and Mr Lord met student leaders of the Manchester Night In protest campaign.

The mayor said he is hoping to move quickly on this issue.

What are the anti-spiking kits being rolled out?

Anti-spiking tests are set to be distributed to key venues in Greater Manchester.

They cost as little as £2 and can be used to detect seven types of drugs, typically associated with drink spiking.

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The tests can provide immediate results, which can be used as evidence in court.

Working with the Manchester Night In campaign, the kits will be distributed to a number of clubs in the city-region.

Why is the partnership being set up?

The issue of drink spiking has grabbed headlines in recent weeks, with people sharing their experiences on nights out and boycotts against bars and clubs taking place in cities across the country.

Mr Burnham and Mr Lord went to Manchester Student Union on Wednesday 3 November to meet members of the anti-spiking campaign in the city.

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A protest was held on 27 October in St Peter’s Square at which students showed their anger at the issue.

Campaigners sent a letter to Mr Burnham asking him to do more to tackle the problem.

What else is being done?

Mr Burnham and Mr Lord will now invite all the mayors in the city-region to participate in the Anti-Spiking Partnership.

The meeting at the students’ union discussed what can be done to improve the welfare of people out and about enjoying the city region’s vibrant night-time economy.

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This includes extending schemes such as Safe Havens and volunteer schemes such as the Village Angels that operate on Canal Street.

They help people who have been separated from friends, had their purse or money stolen, been turned away from venues, or have become disorientated.

Students are preparing to boycott nightclubs in Bristol and across th UK to pressure venues to do more to combat the recent increase in spiking.Students are preparing to boycott nightclubs in Bristol and across th UK to pressure venues to do more to combat the recent increase in spiking.
Students are preparing to boycott nightclubs in Bristol and across th UK to pressure venues to do more to combat the recent increase in spiking. | Shutterstock

As many as 100 people in a night can benefit from their assistance and the schemes can also prevent more serious incidents occurring.

The meeting also talked about how reporting of incidents can be improved and what venues do when drinks are spiked.

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The campaigners were told there are plans in place to expand on existing schemes such as Ask Angela where people can discreetly ask staff for help.

The meeting also talked about a campaign to tackle the behaviour of boys and men.

The Greater Manchester Gender Based Violence Strategy launched at the end of September outlining the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s wider approach which includes tackling violence, abuse, and harassment in public places as well as commercial settings.

What has been said about the new measures to tackle drink spiking?

Mr Burnham said: “Sacha and I met with members of the Manchester Night In campaign and agreed to look at launching an Anti-Spiking Partnership with key venues in the city-region.

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“Sacha is working up the details of this and we will convene a further meeting in two weeks’ time, I am hoping we can move quickly.

“I want to thank the members of the Manchester Night In campaign for meeting with us. I saw the numbers of people participating in the protest and we are committed to taking tangible action.”

Mr Lord said: “We have heard shocking stories this week from women who have been affected by drink spiking. Whether it is a club, bar or house party drink spiking should not be happening in our city-region.

“We are working on the details of our Anti-Spiking Partnership and I will be liaising with major venues in the city-region.

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“Work is also under way to build on existing schemes such as Safe Havens and Village Angels to protect the safety of people who have been separated from their friends.”

What should I do if my drink is spiked?

If you or your friends start to feel strange or unwell on a night out then you should get help and seek medical advice straight away.

Incidents should be reported to the police on 101. You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

You can also call the Victims Support Helpline on 0300 303 0162.

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