Crackdown on drugs launched in Eastgate Street
KEEPING drugs out of Gloucester's clubland is key to maintaining a safe environment for late-night revellers, say nightclub bosses.
Managers working in Eastgate Street's strip of bars and clubs are encouraging more random drug tests in venues.
They say the procedure acts as a strong deterrent to drug users who have become the scourge of Gloucester's night economy.
Manager of Liquid, Andy Mclachlan, says the use of the police drugs dog is another valuable and successful tool in keeping illegal substances out of clubs.
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"We had an officer and his dog visit the club last week to check people in the queue to see if they were carrying drugs," he said.
"It is a good deterrent. I have been working in clubs all over the country and drugs are always lurking in the background.
"We carry out random searches and our door staff use their local knowledge and contacts to look for signs there may be users on the premises. Action is then taken."
On Friday night, a team of special constables and a police passive drugs dog visited six premises across the city.
Drinkers at the Baker Street pub, The Nelson Inn, The Regal, One Eyed Jacks, Minx and Liquid were all checked.
A police spokesman said: "Police made 19 searches of individuals, with only one cannabis warning issued.
"The majority of people who were picked out by the drug-dog and searched had admitted to using drugs during that night, but were not in possession of drugs at the time of the search."
Checks on punters with the drugs dog are due to be stepped up, with visits to city centre establishments set to increase from once every two months to every four weeks.
Gloucester's night-safe partnership, made up of club bosses, councillors and police representatives are working together to tackle safety issues and improve the evening economy.
Calls have been made within the group to fence off one alleyway in Eastgate Street at night, considered a hotspot for covert drug deals.
Conservative police and crime commissioner candidate Victoria Atkins also visited Eastgate Street with Councillor Tarren Randle (C, Barnwood) on Saturday to asses issues facing police and security staff.
Mrs Atkins, a barrister who prosecutes serious organised crime including drug-smuggling, has backed the measures.
"We all want Gloucester to be a vibrant, safe place to visit at night," she said.
"It is good to see responsible landlords working with the police to achieve that. As Commissioner, I would work to build stronger relationships between the public and the police to make Gloucestershire safer."