Testing kits could be introduced in Falkirk bars over spiking concerns

A television thriller with a dramatic test to see whether drinks have been spiked or not could lead to a change in local licensing policy.

Members of the council’s licensing board heard this week of efforts by police to tackle the problem nationally, although they were assured the number of reported cases in Falkirk was “tiny”.

Upper Braes Councillor John McLuckie said he had seen a recent TV drama that showed nail polish changing color when dipped in a drink that had been spiked and he asked the police’s licensing officer it was “fact or fiction?”

The program in question is the hit Netflix adaptation of Harlan Coban’s Stay Close – but sadly Sergeant Liam Livingston said he had seen the same program and admitted the nail varnish test technology shown in the program “does not exist”.

However, he added: “There are test kits that premises can buy and I know some do – I know one premises has a stock of them but no-one has gone near them to ask for them.”

Cllr McLuckie then suggested it was something that they could look at as a board, making sure that there were kits available to let people see if their drinks could be spiked.

Convener Niall Coleman said it could be something that could be added to the board’s policy review after discussion with Police Scotland.

Sgt Livingston said: “I think it’s not the whole answer but it’s part of the answer and I would have no issues if more premises were to stock them.

“What I would say is that the Crown Office and PF office have a very specific way they want us to investigate the crimes and that is with urine samples going to a forensic laboratory for examination.

“But I would see no difficulty if more premises were to have test kits that could be done in the first instance that would given an indication if there was something in the drink that shouldn’t be there.”

Sergeant Livingston also reassured members that the problem did not seem to be widespread locally.

He said: “In Falkirk there have been very, very few reports of spiking and none at all of spiking by injection which was widely reported in the press”.

“They are all dealt with seriously when they are reported but very few have been,” he added.

However, agree Niall Coleman said the issue was a “real cause of concern” and councilors agreed it was important to raise awareness.

Police Scotland has issued advice to all licensed premises and have urged them to train staff to be aware of the possibility of drinks being spiked.

People working in bars and clubs should recognize the signs of a person who may have had their drink spiked – this includes suddenly appearing intoxicated, drowsiness, vomiting or being disoriented.

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They should also look out for people acting suspiciously around unattended drinks and challenge them or ask them to leave the premises immediately

If there is suspicion that the drink may have been spiked they should seize the
drink and report it to the police immediately.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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