Preet Kaur Gill MP hosted a roundtable at Velvet Music Rooms to discuss how the city of Birmingham comes together to stop spiking and make the night-time economy safer.
The meeting included representatives from Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, Westside Bid, the University of Birmingham, the Guild of Students, and city centre nightclubs including Pryzm, Snobs, Pop World and Velvet Music Rooms.
The roundtable comes after news that almost 30 instances of spiking were reported to the West Midlands Police in just a five-day period.
Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston in Birmingham said,
The roundtable was about bringing together, including the Police, Birmingham City Council and city centre clubs and I was extremely encouraged to hear about the positive steps being taken to address this issue. It was particularly encouraging to hear how nightclubs are using their own money to look into solutions including offering drinks covers and increasing both security and welfare offers.
Those attending the roundtable agreed on actions that needed to be taken to continue this forward momentum. However, we can all take simple steps to ensure our own safety including being more cautious in the amount of alcohol we consume on a night out. There are also free apps we should all consider using like Hollie Guard that can help us to keep safe.”
During the meeting, city centre nightclubs had the opportunity to explain the safety measures that have been recently strengthened, including additional security checks, staff training with West Midlands Police, offering drink covers and spiking test kits. Matthew Symes, Pubwatch Chairman for Westside BID said,
Our roundtable today proved invaluable in our desire to make all venues safer in the face of current late-night issues. Our aim is to provide a safe and fun environment for all customers and part of that fight is trying to communicate to our visitors what we are doing to keep them safe.
We welcome the input from organisations like the student guild, police, council and others in creating a community approach to current policies and also creating new ways of improving what is already in place.
Hollie Guard is an app that can track a person’s location as they make their way home, exercising, or simply going about their day-to-day tasks. If at any point they feel unsafe, a shake of the phone will send an alert to a group of pre-set contacts to warn them that they may be in danger. Nick Gazzard created the app in memory of his daughter after she was murdered by her partner.