Who we are and what we do

1st & Bowery is a Shropshire based business launched by Vince Dovey and Neville Street, which aims to identify and address a range of issues that impact on people’s day to day lives.

Local businesspeople who run their own companies, as well as being involved with a number of volunteer and charity organisations in a variety of areas throughout the county, Vince and Neville are passionate about what they do. Coming together in 2022 their aim was to create innovative technical solutions to problems they viewed as having a detrimental effect on a wide range of individuals, businesses and other organisations. Through the utilisation of technology and a collaborative approach with stakeholders, they feel the projects developed so far can help to address a number of societal issues such as:

  • Drink spiking in venues
  • Bullying, racism and intolerance in schools, universities and the workplace and
  • The confidence to be safe while travelling alone during work or simply walking home from a night out.

Why we are here and why we set it up

Our anti drink-spiking project was set up in response to a clear need for a simple-to-use, cost effective answer to an issue that is of concern to the public, authorities and our hard pressed night-time economy.

Laura Farris, Minister for Victims and Safeguarding.

‘Spiking is an insidious and predatory act which is already illegal under existing laws. We are amending legislation to make the offence explicit and capture the modern-day nature of the threat. Taken alongside new measures to improve the way the police respond to incidents, and better equipping venue staff to identify, respond and protect their customers, we are sending a clear message that perpetrators of this crime should expect to be caught and face justice.’

The Home Office has announced a funding pot to include spiking testing kits and an online reporting tool(source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/spiking-to-be-targeted-in-raft-of-new-measures)

The Solution

We have developed a coordinated approach to supplying venues with test kits and a simple-to-use, but effective way of reporting the number of tests carried out and the results (whether positive or negative). This information, coupled with other actions, will provide a clearer picture of the issue while allowing the police and other agencies to efficiently target their resources.Our research also highlights that venues with an anti drink-spiking project in place instill greater confidence in the public’s choice of venue to frequent, which in turn benefits those venues and supports the wider night-time economy. The test strip was developed and  validated for the detection of GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate), Ketamine (Special K) and amines such as Cocaine and amphetamines (see Drugbank.com for details) in the UK by UCL (University College London) and Strathclyde University.

The plan

Managed roll out of test kits, the reporting system and associated literature (posters and publicity) needs to be undertaken. This would involve a coordinated town by town, city by city approach, setting up venues with the project while liaising with the police, local councils, BIDs and other groups.

Our Project


Our project seeks to work with venues rather than against them. We offer clear training on how to use the test strips, how to record the tests, how to interrogate the data specific to their venue and how to best inform their patrons on the issues surrounding drink spiking, such as the need to be vigilant.

Furthermore, we work with venue staff, door security and local agencies to ensure that people are aware of the tell-tale signs of drink spiking, what to do if a test is positive (preserve the evidence, look after the victim, alert staff and police, implement internal policies, etc) and how to spot potential spikers before they carry out their crime.

We also work with venues by offering PR to publicise the roll out of their involvement in our project. This is not only of benefit to them but aims to make as wide an audience as possible aware of the heightened focus on drink spiking.

key statistics

  • Circa 5000 reported UK incidents in 21/22 (source: House of Commons library). Estimated that 92% of incidents were not reported so figures would be much higher.
  • West Mercia – 111 cases reported in West Mercia between 2021 and 2022.
  • 30% of location ‘where to go’ decisions were made on venue reputation and 48% based on recommendation (source: Rekom UK Night Life Index 2022).


  • Visit to hospital through police/ambulance £2434.00 per person.
  • Walk-in to A&E cost £732 per person.

1st & Bowery research

  • From our research, 92% of respondents said having our project in place made them feel safer and
  • 95% said they would recommend a venue with our project in place to a friend

    Venue revenue

    Having our anti drink-spiking project in place would increase footfall.

    For example, if average footfall at venue is 500 people per week and each person spends £30* then a rise in 5% of customers = +£39k increase in turnover per annum.

    * Source: Rekom UK Night Life Index 2022


    Links to media

    1. BBC Midlands Today
    2. Sky News (28 minutes in)
    3. Sky News (shorter version on how the strips work)
    4. Shropshire Star
    5. BBC Radio Shropshire

    Contact details

    Neville – 07967 717259 or nev@1standbowery.co.uk

    Vince – 07402 673630 or vince@1standbowery.co.uk