Town centre action on drink and drugs

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 September 2013

Sergeant Mark Jenkinson with the itemiser, which detects for traces of drugs.

Sergeant Mark Jenkinson with the itemiser, which detects for traces of drugs.

Archant

EVIDENCE of drugs can be found in every club and bar toilet in Weston, a police investigation has shown.

Officers from Avon and Somerset Constabulary have been cracking down on alcohol-related violence and carrying out educational visits to drinking establishments during a week of action in the town centre.

The Mercury attended one such visit, where police used an itemiser machine which detects drugs such as cocaine and heroin from swabs used on toilets, tables and other surfaces.

By identifying the problem areas in bars and clubs, police have been able to inform owners and managers where the majority of drug activity has been taking place.

Traces of cocaine were found in both sets of toilets in Regent Street clubs Mi Bar and Dragon Kiss, as well on the customer-side of the bar in both clubs.

Tables in Mi Bar also showed traces of cocaine, as well as a shelf by the club’s doors, while high traces of cocaine were found in the staff toilets in Dragon Kiss.

Sergeant Mark Jenkinson said: “Finding evidence of drugs in the toilets is not unusual, and you will find it in every toilet in pubs and clubs in Weston and across the country.

“We are working with the licensees to help them find key areas which are vulnerable to drug use.

“It is vital to do things like this and make sure club owners and well-educated and know where drugs are being used on their premises.

“We can test these areas again in the future to see if things have improved.”

Reports of alcohol-related assaults have decreased in the town in the last 12 months and Weston town centre inspector Liz Hughes said the campaign was a proactive approach to tackle problems caused by alcohol.

Figures show there were 178 alcohol-related violent assaults in Weston between April and August 2012, which has reduced to 145 in the same period this year.

There has also been a 43 per cent reduction in problem street drinkers, though the force still receives 14 reports of street drinking a month in Grove Park and the town centre, down from 24 last year.

Inspector Hughes said: “Last week’s national action on alcohol harm was a great opportunity for us to work with our partners to take a proactive approach to tackling the myriad problems that alcohol causes in Weston.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, please take personal responsibility for your behaviour. Please don’t strain police resources and those of the other emergency services because you’ve had too much to drink.”

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