Drugs – Zero tolerance in Crawley Pubs

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The town centre pubwatch members were recently asked a series of questions to look at ideas on improving the evening economy in Crawley. As a result of these questions more and more door supervisors are now using body worn video cameras, which have been proven to help reduce the number of incidents occurring. In addition to this, members all agreed that they would like to find out more to reduce drug use, and in particular wanted to find out more about drug swabbing and the Police Ion Track system.

There is already a zero tolerance by the members regarding the possession or use of drugs in their premises, and CGBW in partnership with CGL already operates an award-winning scheme to deal with anyone who is caught in possession of drugs. They will receive a six months Amber Drugs Referral, which means that they are banned from all members for six months. They can however, downgrade this to a six months probationary period if they go for a consultation with CGL.

The input by Sussex Police licensing officer Jones, members praised as being extremely informative and useful.

Licensing officer Jones said “To assist pubs and clubs in tackling drug use on their premises, Sussex Police utilise an Ion Track Itemiser machine to test sample swabs taken from various surfaces in the premises. Similar to the swabbing machines often seen at airport security channels, the Itemiser is able to identify trace amounts of narcotics, and provides a reading that indicates the level of drug contamination on the surface tested. These results are shared with the premises management so that they are able to identify and tackle any issues identified. Regular drug mapping allows the police and the premises to monitor improvements, and adjust efforts accordingly.

The Itemizer is also used in “Condition of Entry” operations for pubs, clubs, and festivals. Working with management and door staff of a licensed premises, customers wishing to enter are invited to have their hands swabbed prior to admission. Those not wishing to participate will not be allowed entry to the premises. Swabs that return a significantly positive result, may result in the participant being questioned and searched by officers.”

In addition to the demonstration using the Ion Track there was also an input on using Cocaine Drug Wipes. These are specially designed wipes which quickly turn blue if they come into contact with any traces of cocaine. The advantage of using the cocaine drug wipes is that members can do their own testing.

Some of the members have previously been using these and they have proven to be a useful tool, in helping identify any hotspot locations. To encourage more members to use cocaine drug wipes, CGBW purchased some from a local supplier, and a sample was given to each member free of charge.

To find out more about CGBW go to www.cgbw.org.uk

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