Drink testing kits offered to clubbers in Devon and Cornwall amid spiking fears

  • Watch Bob Cruwys' report

Drink testing kits are being handed out to bars and clubs by Devon and Cornwall Police, following rising concerns about drink-spiking and fears over recent needle attacks.

The novel tests are being offered after it was discovered a woman was attacked with a needle at a nightclub in Exeter on Saturday, 16 October.

Campaigners say this incident highlights the damage drink spiking can do.

Dawn Dines, founder of Stamp Out Spiking said: "If you get blurred vision, if you get short of breath, if you suddenly start to feel really dizzy, like you've had too much to drink really quickly, you need to get to a trusted member of staff or a trusted friend.

"If you don't, somebody can come and scoop you up, you won't be able to put up a fight, you'll become totally compliant and then you will end up with no memory of what's happened to you, and that's what drink spiking is."

The kits have been successfully trialled by Devon and Cornwall Police in Plymouth in 2019, and now the force is becoming the first in the country to issue them to venues more widely.

The tests are designed to make it easy to find out on-the-spot if a drink has been tampered with. Instant urine testing kits are also being given out by the police, to quickly establish if someone has been drugged.

Sergeant Dave Moore from Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Don't feel ashamed to make contact with night time economy staff, bar staff, door staff, the police.

"If need be, they can call the police, we can get you tested and we will have a result in minutes. So, it could be really reassuring for you or it can start that early investigation."

The chair of Plymouth's Best Bar None accreditation scheme, Cat MacDonald, agrees that bar staff will want to help anyone who has been spiked or is feeling unwell.

Cat said: "I really believe that staff would want to support that customer.

"They are trained, they are aware, they are taking part in the initiative and actually what venues want to do is ensure that you have a fun and safe night out in the city and that you come back again, feeling reassured that you're going to have an enjoyable evening."