• Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

How can bars and clubs do more to prevent spiking?

ByIsabelle Shaw

Oct 20, 2023
image of a bar. behind the bar is also books as it is a bookshop/bar

I, and many other Edinburgh students, are calling on all Edinburgh bars and clubs to take spiking seriously by implementing greater safety measures to prevent students from being drugged. No one’s night out should be ruined by spiking that intends to put people in vulnerable positions; spiking has also been reported as facilitating other serious crimes such as theft, sexual assault or rape. 

The want for greater safety measures in Edinburgh nightlife has been long-standing since the ‘Girls Night In’ organisation began in 2021. The group campaigned for greater action from Edinburgh nightclubs to take action to prevent spiking. Their open letter and boycott of clubs raised the question: Why do clubs in Edinburgh do little to protect the safety of their customers?

It is evident that more should be done by Edinburgh bars and clubs in 2023 to decrease the risk of spiking. Further calls for bars and clubs in Edinburgh to improve safety measures to prevent spiking have continued showing that not enough progress has been made. A petition started by Edinburgh student Ankita Ajay has gained nearly 300 signatures and counting since the 7th of October. Edinburgh dwellers want “local authorities and venue owners in Edinburgh to implement stricter safety measures.” There is a desperate need for those responsible for nightlife venues to put in place greater measures to reduce the number of spiking incidents.

One person responded to the petition that when at a bar in Edinburgh, the staff “dumped me on a step outside the club.” To prevent this heartless incident from happening in the future, it is clear that staff members of bars and clubs need to be properly trained to recognise when someone has been spiked. Staff need to be informed of the procedures to best ensure the safety of the victim. 

There is little stopping bars and clubs from implementing other safety measures such as offering lids on drinks are an essential safety precaution to avoid drink spiking. An Article from Edinburgh Live quoted Scotland Police that there were 69 reports of drink spiking in 2021. Plastic lids and cups are already used in clubs in Edinburgh such as Subway Cowgate. I suggest that other bars and clubs in Edinburgh can easily follow this example to avoid drugs being slipped into drinks. 

Safeguarding advice from Suffolk Police includes suggestions as to how bars and clubs in Edinburgh should focus on using CCTV to prevent spiking. The Police emphasise to nightclub owners that “CCTV should be routinely checked.” Other preventative measures proposed include “searching as a condition of entry” such as using a “metal detector wand” would help prevent and deter criminals from bringing needles into bars or clubs.

From my point of view, the proliferation of these safety measures should be implemented throughout Edinburgh bars and clubs immediately. Edinburgh nightlife needs to ensure that students can enjoy their night without worrying about any of the dangerous consequences of spiking.

bookstore bar …” by peter.clark is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.