THE owner of a popular bar has called for strong sentences for those responsible for spiking drinks after MPs called for it to be made more difficult for nighttime veunes who have a bad track record of incidents of spiking to renew their licences.

The government is also considering creating a new criminal offence for spiking.

A report by the Home Affairs Committee said that venues with a bad track record on spiking and wider issues relating to violence against women should have improvement measures required as part of their licence renewal.

The report also says that that local authorities and licensing authorities need to ensure that venues have adequate security and staff trained to identify spiking incidents.

The Bolton News:

Venues with bad track record on spiking ‘must improve to have licence renewed’ John Wray, owner of The Venue Bar on Churchgate said there need to be preventative measures in place and reinforced – but the focus should be on those who spike drinks.

“At the end of the day there is only so much you can control,” he said. “A business can be extremely vigilant and still have incidents.

“I think they’re right to raise it. The emphasis should be on those who commit an offence – a sentence that matches the potential crime."

Mr Wray clarified that by "potential crime," he meant that spiking someone is an issue, but what someone might intend to do to that person after the affects of the spiking manifest could potentially be much more severe.

He added: “Taking away a licence for a third-party crime – that’s not justice.

“I’m not advocating bad operators, by the way. There needs to be something there for deterrent value, but for me [taking away licences] is not the solution.”

Mr Wray does not believe that the spiking is particularly prevalent in Bolton.

He said: “I’m not aware of it being a massive problem at the moment. We’ve had no reported incidents of it.

“We have signs up telling people to protect their drink.”

Mr Wray hopes that if a time comes where a change in the law passes, that people like him are at least consulted.

“I would like to think that they would speak to the industry before taking any decisions. Not just those at the top, but single operators like me as well,” he said.

The Bolton News:

Last month Bolton council, partnered with Greater Manchester Police and Best Bar None to launch an initiative to provide advice and materials to reduce the risk of spiking.

Anti-drink spiking campaign rolled out across Bolton bars and clubs

Anti-drink spiking campaign rolled out across Bolton bars and clubs StopTopps and Spikey, devices that make it more difficult to slip something into an unwitting person’s drink, were delivered to bars throughout the borough.

When it was launched, Cllr Mudasir Dean, cabinet member for safer communities, said: “Drink spiking is a horrendous crime which not only affects victims physically, but it can also be detrimental to their mental health.

“Everyone has the right to feel and stay safe while socialising.

“Personal safety is one of our priorities and the preventative work we are doing with the night-time economy should make people feel safer on a night out.”