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MANCHESTER: How Manchester council wants to ‘stamp out spiking’ amid rise in cases

MANCHESTER: How Manchester council wants to ‘stamp out spiking’ amid rise in cases

Labour councillor Sam Lynch represents Northenden ward in Manchester. Credit: Manchester City Council. Caption: Joseph Timan

Pubs, bars and clubs could be forced to search their customers for spiking paraphernalia as Manchester council looks to change its licensing regime.

The local authority will look at whether conditions could be placed on venues to ensure they have appropriate security and staff training to prevent spiking.

It follows a sharp rise in spiking cases in the city last month which led to hundreds of women and young people protesting in St Peter’s Square.

There were approximately 117 reports of spiking in October alone – with 57 in one week – compared to just 18 in 2019, according to councillor Sam Lynch.

Labour councillors set out how they want to ‘stamp out spiking’ in a motion which received cross-party support at a meeting on Wednesday, December 1.

Coun Lynch said she hopes more venues will offer test kits and lids for drinks.

She said: “We must do all we can as a city to keep us all safe. But until we get to the root cause of these cultural issues, until we live in a society where it’s unacceptable to harass and cause harm to women and girls, things won’t really change.”

The council voted to support initiatives which ‘actively challenge culture attitudes’ which allow sexual assault and harassment to happen, including improving education for boys and men on the subject of sex and relationships.

The local authority also agreed to ‘explore’ whether licensing conditions could be used to ensure venues have ‘appropriate’ anti-spiking measures in place.

The council also committed to working with the night time economy to review and implement all possible safety options as a ‘matter of urgency’ and ensure that women’s safety is a ‘key focus’ of a new commission launching in 2022.

The town hall will write to the government to ‘seek clarity’ on plans to classify misogyny as a hate crime which it says would ‘encourage reporting of spiking’.

And the council’s chief executive will be asked to write a joint letter with the new police chief constable calling for a ‘comrehensive review’ into spiking.

Councillors also supported a motion which calls for greater awareness of adverse childhood experiences such as exposure to abuse or violence.

The Labour motion, which was supported by the Lib Dems and the Greens, also called on the council to ensure children receive professional ‘tramua informed’ support through schools, social services and health services.

The motion said: “Early intervention in a child’s life can not only reduce the consequences of adverse childhood experiences, but also potentially reduce the number of children presenting to services for serious youth violence offences and reduce the economic and social cost of serious youth violence.”

Both motions were unanimously approved at the full council meeting.

Words: Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter

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