Exclusive: Rekom UK plans to introduce free drug testing kits and full body searches on entry, CEO says
Britain’s biggest operator of nightclubs is stepping up safety measures to tackle spiking, including the introduction of protective drink covers and full body searches on entry.
The chief executive of Rekom UK told The Independent his group – which runs brands including Pryzm and Atik – were bringing in new measures in response to concerns over spiking.
It comes as students are planning to boycott nightclubs this week in a call for more to be done to tackle spiking.
Nearly 200 drink spiking incidents have been reported to police across the UK over the past two months, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said.
A number of police forces are also investigating reports of people being spiked with injections.
“It is important to note that cases of spiking are rare,” Peter Marks from Rekom UK, which has more than 40 nightlife venues across the UK, told The Independent.
“However, in response to our guests’ concerns, we will be increasing the safety measures in place to include anti-spiking bottle stoppers, protective drink covers and free drug testing kits as well as full body searches on entry.”
In addition to this, Mr Marks told The Independent there have been “robust” safety and wellbeing measures in place in Rekom venues for years, including 24/7 full CCTV coverage, metal detectors and entry searches.
Girls Night In campaign groups – who are organising nightclub boycotts – have been calling for clubs to take more action to prevent spiking and protect victims, including improved bouncer training and for nightlife venues to provide free drink protection devices.
They have also urged nightclubs to ramp up their entry security.
Others have distanced themselves from such a position, with Mair Howells, the founder of group Ivebeenspiked, telling The Independent this week this “gives up more space for abuse of power”.
One pub in Nottingham is set to start doing a girls-only night every week following reports of spiking in the city – including cases where students believe they were spiked by an injection.
Police forces have said they were investigating reports of spiking by injection in Nottingham, Leeds, Exeter and Scotland.
Mr Marks from Rekom UK, whose other brands include eden and Fiction, said the group will continue to work closely with police and “will not hesitate to detain and investigate any unlawful, dangerous or threatening behaviour”.
The group’s chief executive urged anyone who witnesses or suspect they are a victim of suspicious behaviour to speak to a member of staff, contact police and seek medical advice so allegations can be investigated immediately.