Drink spike testing kits to be introduced into Belfast pubs by next year

Belfast pubs and other licensed venues should introduce drink spike test kits in their venues by next year, after a council motion passed in City Hall.

In Belfast City Council’s Licensing Committee this week, elected officials unanimously approved an Alliance proposal from councilor Micky Murray.

It said: “In order to make our nighttime economy a safer place to be, this council will work with licensed facilities to introduce beverage peak testing kits into their facilities.

“This includes training for staff on how to administer the kits, what to do in the event of a positive result, and promotional material promoting customer access to the kits.”

Once the motion is ratified in the full council next month, a paper will be presented to the committee on how the project will be rolled out.

Passing this will allow licensed facilities across Belfast to keep test kits on their premises.

Mr Murray said: “As the city’s night economy continues to expand, Belfast City Council has a responsibility to ensure our city is a safe place to visit and enjoy.

“With the launch of this program, we have a critical opportunity to help reduce incidents of spiking and work to reduce incidents of antisocial behavior and sexual assault – which remain unfortunate scourges of the city’s nightlife – as well as early medical intervention.” Interventions to reach victims of incidents related to spiking.

“With this program, we want to not only deter those planning to transfer someone, but also to provide potential victims and others with information on how to obtain the test kits and where to access support if they think they or their friends are have been peppered.”

Asked who would foot the bill for Sinn Féin councilor JJ Magee’s scheme, Mr Murray said: “We are working with drink companies, Hospitality Ulster and the police to try to fund the scheme.

“It’s not very expensive – it’s basically two strips you put in a drink and it comes out positive or negative.

“The training mentioned in the application is basically one page – it will cost nothing. But we try to finance it externally.”

In November 2021, police said 120 cases of spiked drinks had been reported in Northern Ireland over a 10-month period – even ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.

Queen’s University last year introduced drink testing kits in its student union bar and trained staff.

Anyone who suspects a drink has been altered can get the test, and if positive, police are contacted.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/drink-spike-testing-kits-to-be-introduced-into-belfast-pubs-by-next-year-42010703.html Drink spike testing kits to be introduced into Belfast pubs by next year

Linh

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