Police in Newmarket, in conjunction with a local nightclub, held a proactive evening of action to promote safety and tackle drug taking.
Officer came together from the Neighbourhood Partnership Team, response teams and local Safer Neighbourhood Team (on Saturday, September 3) to work with the Ark nightclub to conduct hand drug swabs as a condition of entry.
Samples are obtained by wiping a material “trap” across the palm of each person, before being put into a machine which gives an immediate indication if that person is contaminated with drugs.
A total of 229 people were tested and from those, the machine alarm sounded 36 times detecting contamination of drugs. As a result, 12 searches were carried out using powers under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The most prevalent drug detected was cocaine, which accounted for 67% of the positive readings. All persons providing a positive reading were given drugs advice and signposted to areas for support. With the agreement of the premises, those persons who provided results that required further investigation were refused entry.
Sgt Dan Peck, who led the initiative, said: “This was a joint venture between police and the nightclub. I would like to thank the venue and particularly the security team who were supporting us during this operation, without their co-operation and experience in managing the venue, this operation would not have been possible.
“The general feedback from customers was one of positivity, many saying that this type of operation made them feel safer on their night out and they would like to see more venues undertaking this type of pro-active operation to keep people safe.
“This operation is an opportunity for police to engage with users of the night-time economy, promote safety initiatives and educate people to help them keep safe at night. While drug searches are inevitable with this type of operation, our primary objective is to support venues to show a joined up; approach to keeping people safe and protecting vulnerable customers.
“Everyone has the right to enjoy a safe night out and we continue to work with our community partners to put measures in place to protect the public, prevent offending and pursue those who commit offences fuelled by drugs and alcohol within the night-time economy. Licensed venues play a key role in keeping the night-time economy safe and this is why, we are asking all licensed premises in Suffolk to consider signing up to the Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative.”