Hi-tech machine helps drugs fight

  1. honourableone
    Police are using a highly sensitive machine to measure the scale of drug use in Leicester's pubs.

    Officers have found traces of cocaine, ecstasy and heroin in eight of the bars they have surveyed so far.

    Pc Jon Webb, of city centre police's violence and disorder team, said cocaine was the most common drug.

    Bars where staff are shown to be turning a blind eye to drug abuse can lose their licences.

    However, the eight city venues tested in the past few months had asked the police to survey their premises because they were determined to tackle the problem.

    Pc Webb said: "The majority of the traces were found in the toilets – which we would expect because if people are going to use drugs they will do it out of view.

    "We have also found traces in other parts of venues, areas that are tucked away and can't be seen by bar staff all of the time.

    "The idea is that we carry out the survey and then give the manager a full report so he or she can look at how they can change the design of their toilets or other areas of concern."

    Simple steps taken by some bars to deter drug use include moving CCTV cameras to areas other than the toilets, increasing staff patrols or moving toilet roll holders to head height.

    One city pub manager said: "You'd have to be naive to think it doesn't happen in most, if not all pubs. Occasionally we'll find two people in the toilet cubicle.
    "I knock on the door and say 'you're either having sex or doing drugs. Whatever it is, come out now'. Then we throw them out."

    A spokesman for a national chain which owns four of the recently tested pubs, said: "We are constantly trying to 'design out' the problem of drug use.

    "The pubs that are being tested at the moment are the willing ones. I think the ones who are not willing to work with the police will turn out to be the real problem."

    Officers are using the Mobiletrace machine to test surfaces such as toilet cisterns and toilet-roll holders.

    A swab is wiped across the test area before being fed into the machine, which analyses and identifies the sample within seconds.

    It can detect at least 20 illegal substances, including cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and cannabis.

    The machine has also been used to test people as they enter bars, with swab tests carried out on their hands or clothes.

    Those who test positive can be refused entry and arrested.

    By the Leicester Mercury, 17th Aughust 2009
    Original Source: http://www.thisisleicestershire.co....ugs-fight/article-1257738-detail/article.html

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