Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury venues to benefit from anti-spiking project thanks to funding

A Shropshire business which aims to identify and address the issue of drink spiking on licensed premises has received funding to roll out its project in Shrewsbury.

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Vince Dovey

With support from West Mercia Police's Chief Inspector Tracy Ryan and Crime Commissioner John Campion, Shrewsbury-based 1st & Bowery is offering to provide its drink spike testing strips and incident reporting technology for free to licensed premises in the town.

The test strip, developed and validated for the detection of GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and Ketamine (Special K) in the UK by University College London and Strathclyde University, is effective across range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Activated in just a few minutes, a drink containing GHB will turn the pink patch blue and one containing Ketamine, turn the yellow patch orange.

The simple-to-use app, which works by scanning two separate QR codes; one for management and staff, and one for customers; instantly and anonymously records potential incidences.

The package for venues includes a box of test strips with behind-the-bar display holder, QR codes to instantly and anonymously record a potential spiking incident, promotional posters, easy-to-understand literature explaining the process and in-house ‘how to’ training for members of staff.

Vince Dovey, managing director at 1st & Bowery, said: “We launched this project a year ago and to have it recognised by West Mercia PCC reflects just how important it is to protect people and establishments from the scourge of drink spiking.

"Research carried out not long after we launched showed more than 90 per cent of people are more likely to go to a bar with an anti-drink spiking project in place as well as recommend it to their friends.

"This is a no-brainer for venue owners and managers, and whether they have previously identified a problem at their premises or not it’s a means of sending a clear ‘you’re not wanted here’ message to potential perpetrators, especially with the impending busy festive period. We also feel that the project is a useful addition to Shrewsbury’s safe nightlife and Purple Flag accreditation.”

PCC John Campion said: “The increase in reports of drink-spiking on a national level are concerning and I am determined to drive this behaviour out of our society.

“Offenders do not consider the long and lasting impact drink spiking has on victims and the further crimes committed when an individual is in such a vulnerable position. My investment shows I will not be complacent, with one case being simply one too many.

“I am committed to preventing crime and ensuring everyone is safe and feels safe in their communities, as I remain unrelenting in my drive to deliver my Safer West Mercia Plan.”

Venue owners interested in the project are invited to a meeting on Monday, November 27, in room 26 at the UCS campus Shrewsbury (Frankwell), from 4pm to 6pm.

Expressions of interest can be emailed to