Express & Star

City nightclubs tighten security as women speak up about drink spiking fears

Nightclubs are tightening security as more women step forward to speak up about how fearful they are of their drinks being spiked.

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Michael Ansell, owner of Planet Nightclub in Wolverhampton, has beefed up security to help customers feel safer

Police are looking into a report a woman was “spiked by injection” at a nightclub – a Birmingham-based university student also reported her drink being spiked.

And a woman in Wolverhampton told the Express & Star she “never feels safe” clubbing in the city centre

Michael Ansell, owner of Planet Nightclub in Wolverhampton, said he had beefed up security at his venue to try and make people feel more at ease.

He said: “We have extra security, not just because of the spikings, but due to everything happening around women’s safety. We’re working closely with West Midlands Police, especially as we had lots of reports where women were getting touched inappropriately at the club.

“We’ve had extra security to tackle anti-social behaviour too. Not just sexual assault but fighting too.”

Michael said he was ‘very worried’ drink spiking could take place at his nightclub.

“I’m definitely worried about it,” he said. “I want people to be able to come in, have a great time, and come back next week. I want everyone to be as safe as possible. I’ve even got an extra member of staff in walking the floor, and I’ve made the door staff more aware.

“As far as I’m aware no-one has been spiked but obviously we’re bound to have, in all the years we’ve been here.”

West Midlands Police revealed earlier this month that they have undercover officers working in bars and clubs in the city, to keep an eye out for potential offenders. More uniformed officers are also out patrolling the street to watch out for trouble.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said she used to go clubbing in the city centre but stopped a number of years ago.

“I never felt safe,” she said. “I know what goes on in there.”

Shaun Keasey, owner of Gorgeous nightclub in the city, said his staff were encouraging party-goers to stay safe while enjoying their night out.

He said: “We want to encourage people to be very aware, and if they see anything suspicious to point it out to staff. I’m not aware of any spiking issues but that’s not to say there won’t be in the future. I’ve told security to keep an eye out for anything unusual.” The University of Wolverhampton is also working closely with the police, in helping students to stay safe.

Professor Julia Clarke, deputy vice-chancellor for student experience, said: “The safety and wellbeing of students is a priority for the University of Wolverhampton and we are reinforcing messages about drinks spiking.

“Students have access to a SafeZone app which promotes safety in a number of ways, including giving fast access to the university’s security team when students are on campus.

“If students are in the city in close proximity to the campus and feel unsafe or returning to halls of residence and feel in need of assistance, they can use the app to call for help.”

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