Spiking: Broad Street bars and nightclubs introduce extra security measures to keep guests safe

Bars and restaurants on Birmingham’s ‘Golden Mile’ bring in more checks following the rise in reports of spiking
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Extra security measures have been introduced at bars and nightclubs on Broad Street to help keep customers safe.

The increased checks, which include additional searches at the door, have been brought in following a rise in reports of spiking across the country.

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The BID has also purchased free testing strips which they have made available to nightclubs to help protect revellers from the threat of having their drinks tampered with.

West Midlands Police investigated 24 reports of people being spiked with drugs between November 10 and 14.

Officers have not reported any further action being taken in any of these cases, and have stressed that they are working hard to ensure reports of spiking, including spiking by needle are thoroughly investigated.

There have also been reports of spiking at Snobs and Popworld in Solihull.

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Westside BID which works with bars and nightclubs on Broad Street has told how they are committed to keeping their customers safe.

They recently invited Police and Crime Commissioner and West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan to see the work being done.

The extra searches at the door have been introduced ahead of the NHS Covid Pass requirements which come into force on December 15 and are required for entry into nightclubs and indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people.

Nightlife in Birmingham around Broad StreetNightlife in Birmingham around Broad Street
Nightlife in Birmingham around Broad Street

How have Broad Street bars and restaurants implemented the new measures to keep customers safe?

Matthew Symes, West Midlands Pubwatch chairman and a BID director, explained how they are working closely with all their venues to make sure that customers are “in the safest possible hands”, and that members of staff are also able to go to work in a safe environment.

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Mr Symes said part of that process involved vulnerability training as well as an increased level of searches on the door, particularly in view of rising media stories of drink spiking.

He said: “We’ve worked extremely hard to make sure that all of our customers notice what we’re doing when they’re coming into the building, and they feel safe and reassured that we’re doing everything we can to protect them while they’re in the building.

“We have an increased level of searches now on the door which is part of our vulnerability training and part of our issues that we’ve had in the rise of the spiking cases.

“We work increasingly hard to ensure that all of our customers notice what we’re doing when they come into the building and they feel safe and they feel reassured that we are doing everything that we can to protect them while they are in the building.

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“As far as keeping the streets safe for all our customers when they are not in our building, a lot of the venues work really hard with West Midlands Police, the ambulance service, the Westside wardens, the street pastors, and between each site.”

Mr Symes added: “We have a radio that talks amongst all sites so we can keep an eye on the people we don’t want in the building and make sure that everybody else on the street knows.”

In addition, he explained that venues hold weekly meetings with the police and BID to learn about things that might be going on, while passing on any feedback they may have on any particular issues. There is also a WhatsApp group so sites can communicate with each other.

Nightlife in Birmingham around Broad SteetNightlife in Birmingham around Broad Steet
Nightlife in Birmingham around Broad Steet

What has the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said about the extra measures being taken on Broad Street to keep customers safe?

Simon Foster, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, has praised the “fantastic” security work that is helping to keep nightlife customers safe on Westside.

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Mr Foster paid a late-night visit to the Broad Street area to see for himself what was being done to protect visitors – especially women – in Birmingham’s ‘golden mile’ entertainment capital.

He said he had been “particularly impressed” with the work that has been taking place around the possible spiking of drinks and in combatting violence against women.

Mr Foster, who was accompanied by the West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan, said: “I’ve been looking at the fantastic partnership work taking place between Westside BID, local policing teams, street wardens, paramedics, the ambulance service and venues to prevent crime, protect people and help the vulnerable.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner added: “All of this partnership work has been immensely impressive and it is good to see all these different organisations working together to prevent crime, protect the public and help the vulnerable.”

Brindleyplace, BirminghamBrindleyplace, Birmingham
Brindleyplace, Birmingham

What else has Westside BID said about the extra security measures?

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Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, who also accompanied Mr Foster on his visit, said: “The security of our staff and visitors is of the utmost importance to everyone on Westside, which is why we continually look to improve it.

“I am pleased that the Police and Crime Commissioner, together with the Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan, were able to see for themselves the work that we are doing to keep people safe.

“They visited the site quite late and we had a good discussion about what we’re doing.”

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