Published: 05:00, 14 October 2021
| Updated: 14:20, 14 October 2021
A city nightclub is implementing changes to increase safety after an “extremely worrying” incident in which a drink was reportedly spiked.
Police are investigating claims a young woman was drugged at Club Chemistry in Canterbury.
The woman, aged in her 20s, became “unwell and disoriented” during a night out at the venue in Station Road East.
She was taken to hospital for treatment following the incident - which is said to have happened between 11.30pm last Tuesday and 1.30am the following day - but has since been discharged.
A police spokesman said: “Enquiries are ongoing and the incident remains under investigation.”
Louise Jones-Roberts - a city councillor who owns the club along with Tokyo Tea Rooms - says the club already has a raft of policies in place to keep people safe, including searches on entry, the use of drug detection dogs, a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment, assault and inappropriate behaviour and offering testing strips for drinks.
Staff are also trained to identify and challenge signs of predatory behaviour, and the more than 40 CCTV cameras covering the entire venue are closely monitored.
However, following the recent incident, additional measures are now being introduced.
These include ordering 1,000 “cup condoms” - seals that are placed over the top of cups to prevent anything from being slipped into drinks - which are in addition to similar “spikeys” toppers already used for drinks bottles.
An awareness campaign will also be launched to make revellers aware of safety measures on offer.
Cllr Jones-Roberts said: “We have previously taken for granted that because we know about the provision of spikeys and testing kits, that everyone else does and that is not correct.
“We are therefore, going to run a poster campaign in the venue to ensure all guests know we have this facility.”
She added: “We will continue to do our best but the reality is that venues do not have police powers and can only do so much, so in the instances where a person has been spiked, police investigations need to be rigorous and the offenders prosecuted.”
Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield described the incident as “extremely worrying” and said she would be raising concerns with police and venue owners.
She said: “Students and young people are a big part of our community, they make a huge contribution to every aspect of life here - but it is vital that they are safe and cared for appropriately when away from home and out enjoying themselves.
“I will be talking to Kent Police and Canterbury City Council about the importance of ensuring that venues are fully aware and trained to understand such incidents and deal with them appropriately and safely in the future.”