News – Greater Manchester commits to anti-spiking partnership

The Mayor of Greater Manchester and Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, have committed to launching an Anti-Spiking Partnership after meeting with members of the Manchester Night In campaign.

Andy Burnham and Sacha met with members of the campaign at the Manchester Student Union on Wednesday 3 November to talk about what can be done to tackle drink spiking in Greater Manchester. This follows a protest which took place on Wednesday 27 October, where hundreds of people including Andy and Sacha attended to take their stance against drinks spiking.

The meeting follows a letter sent to Andy from the campaigners asking that more should be done to tackle the issue.

At the meeting, Andy and Sacha agreed to set up an Anti-Spiking Partnership for the city-region inviting all major venues to participate. The aim of the Partnership is to roll out anti-spiking tests across the major venues. Police and key Community Safety Partners will also be asked to attend.

As part of the partnership, Anti-Spiking tests are set to be distributed to key venues in Greater Manchester. Anti-spiking tests cost as little as £2 and can be used to detect seven types of drugs, typically associated with drink spiking. The tests can provide immediate results, which can be used as evidence in court. Working with Manchester Night In, the kits will be distributed to a number of clubs in the city-region.

Andy, Sacha and campaigners discussed what can be done to improve the welfare of all people while they are out and about enjoying the city region’s vibrant night-time economy. This includes extending schemes such as Safe Havens and volunteer schemes such as the Village Angels that operate on Canal Street.

Schemes like this can help people who have been separated from friends, had their purse or money stolen, been turned away from venues, or have become disorientated. The schemes help as many as 100 people a night and can prevent more serious incidents from occurring.

Those attending the meeting also examined what can be done to improve reporting and what to do when incidents, with plans in place to expand on existing schemes such as Ask Angela where people can discreetly ask staff for help.

During the meeting, members talked about a campaign to tackle the behaviour of boys and men. The Greater Manchester Gender Based Violence Strategy launched at the end of September, which outlines GMCA’s wider approach which includes tackling violence, abuse, and harassment in public places as well as commercial settings.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“Sacha and I met with members of the Manchester Night In campaign and agreed to look at launching an Anti-Spiking Partnership with key venues in the city-region. Sacha is working up the details of this and we will convene a further meeting in two weeks’ time, I am hoping we can move quickly.

“I want to thank the members of the Manchester Night In campaign for meeting with us. I saw the numbers of people participating in the protest and we are committed to taking tangible action.”

Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, said:

“We have heard shocking stories this week from women who have been affected by drink spiking. Whether it is a club, bar or house party drink spiking should not be happening in our city-region.

“We are working on the details of our Anti-Spiking Partnership and I will be liaising with major venues in the city-region. Work is also underway to build on existing schemes such as Safe Havens and Village Angels to protect the safety of people who have been separated from their friends.”

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