The multi-agency operation has seen police visit a number of licensed premises to educate staff on detecting spiking offences, and how best to report incidents to the police.
The move is part of the constabulary’s ongoing work to prevent violence against women and girls.
Officers and partners have been working closely with students to raise awareness of how to keep themselves and others safe during a night out, this includes students designing posters, online content and developing a video.
Through funding from the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC) and Community Safety Partnership, officers have also been able to distribute ‘Stoptopp’ drink cover lids to students at Edge Hill’s Welcome Week and into local licensed premises.
As part of the operation, police are continuing to support the Ask for Angela campaign; an initiative which helps people who feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened on a night out to discreetly seek help by approaching venue staff, enabling them to get to a place of safety.
South Licensing Team has conducted proactive visits to licensed premises in Ormskirk Town Centre, along with frequent visits by response officers.
Detective Sergeant Diane Higham from Lancashire Police said: “We know spiking has been a concern for students and others in the area, and we want to reassure the communities that we are responding to their concerns and taking action to ensure they can enjoy their nights out safely.
“Fortunately, spiking allegations aren’t too common across South Division but we would like to provide reassurance that any reports we do receive are taken very seriously. As the festive season approaches, we will continue to work with partners to prevent harm, keep people safe and increasing public confidence in police and partner agencies.
“Our message to anyone intent on causing anyone harm during the festive season is this: criminal behaviour will not be tolerated and the risk of being caught is now higher than ever. Spiking is simply not acceptable and anyone committing offences of this nature will face serious consequences.”
Lynda Brady, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) Edge Hill, said: “Drink spiking is an important issue for students and society as a whole.
“Our students have been at the forefront of working with partners in Lancashire Police and West Lancashire Borough Council to collaborate on this project and came up with some fantastic practical ideas to make West Lancashire a safer space for everyone.
“It’s brilliant to see some of their innovative ideas come to fruition and having a real impact on safety.
“Our priority is to keep young people safe from harm and to ensure that they can exercise their freedom to enjoy a night out safely.”
Interim Chair of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP), Paul Charlson said: ‘This excellent multi-agency spiking campaign led by our colleagues at Lancashire Constabulary has formed an important part of the CSP’s Welcome Week Plan.
“Working closely with the Licensing Teams from the Police and Council, alongside the local licensing trade and in partnership with Edge Hill University has enabled important messages to be delivered on the importance of how to keep safe from drink spiking and to highlight the consequences to anyone considering spiking.
“These key messages are also vitally important as we approach the festive period and we will continue to work in partnership to ensure West Lancashire is a safe place to visit and socialise.”
If you’ve been a victim of crime, help is available in Lancashire no matter who you are, how long ago the incident happened or what took place. Lancashire Victim Services offer free and confidential support. You do not have to report the incident to the police to get support from them. You can contact them directly via calling 0300 323 0085 or by chatting online at: lancashirevictimservices.org
You can make a report to Lancashire Police by calling 101 or reporting online at https://doitonline.lancashire.police.uk/PEDisclaimer/Create. In an emergency or where a crime is ongoing, always dial 999.
For more information about drink spiking, how to avoid it and what to do if you think have been a victim of this crime visit: www.lancashire.police.uk/Spike-Aware.
December 2, 2022