A Shropshire business, which aims to identify and address the issue of drink spiking among licensed premises in England, Scotland and Wales, has received funding from the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion to roll out its project in Shrewsbury.

With support from Chief Inspector Tracy Ryan, Shrewsbury based 1st & Bowery is offering to provide its drink spike testing strips and incident reporting technology for free to licensed premises in the town.

The test strip, developed and validated for the detection of GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and Ketamine (Special K) in the UK by University College London and Strathclyde University, is effective across range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Activated in just a few minutes, a drink containing GHB will turn the pink patch blue and containing Ketamine, the yellow patch orange. The simple-to-use app, which works by scanning two separate QR codes; one for management and staff, and one for customers; instantly and anonymously records potential incidences.

The package for venues includes:
1 Box of test strips with behind-the-bar display holder
2 QR codes to instantly and anonymously record a potential spiking incident
3 Promotional posters
4 Easy-to-understand literature explaining the process and
5 In-house ‘how to’ training for members of staff

Vince Dovey, MD at 1st & Bowery said: “We launched this project a year ago and to have it recognised by West Mercia PCC reflects just how important it is to protect people and establishments from the scourge of drink spiking. Research carried out not long after we launched showed that over 90 percent of people are more likely to go to a bar with an anti-drink spiking project in place as well as recommend it to their friends. This is a no-brainer for venue owners and managers, and whether they have previously identified a problem at their premises or not it’s a means of sending a clear ‘you’re not wanted here’ message to potential perpetrators, especially with the impending busy festive period. We also feel that the project is a useful addition to Shrewsbury’s safe nightlife and Purple Flag accreditation.”

PCC John Campion said: “The increase in reports of drink-spiking on a national level are concerning and I am determined to drive this behaviour out of our society. Offenders do not consider the long and lasting impact drink spiking has on victims and the further crimes committed when an individual is in such a vulnerable position. My investment shows I will not be complacent, with one case being simply one too many. I am committed to preventing crime and ensuring everyone is safe and feels safe in their communities, as I remain unrelenting in my drive to deliver my Safer West Mercia Plan.”

Chief Inspector Tracy Ryan said: “Drink spiking is when someone puts alcohol or drugs into a person’s drink without their consent or knowledge – this is a criminal act. With the Christmas party season on the horizon and people enjoying the festivities, it’s even more important to raise awareness around this issue. The anti-spiking products provided by 1st & Bowery, together with high visibility patrols and undercover officers working in venues across Shropshire, will reassure customers that we are doing everything we can to prevent incidents and detect offenders. Please report any suspected incidents of drink spiking to the police as soon as possible as these drugs can move speedily through the body and be difficult to test for.”

Venue owners interested in the project are invited to a meeting on Monday 27 November in room 26 at the UCS campus Shrewsbury (Frankwell), from 4pm to 6pm.

Expressions of interest can be emailed to contact@1standbowery.co.uk.  

For more information visit www.1standbowery.co.uk.

Picture: Vince Dovey, 1st & Bowery.