Published: 14:43, 09 September 2021
| Updated: 14:45, 09 September 2021
Pubs and bars across Tonbridge have been handed safety equipment and training as part of a police initiative aimed at promoting women’s safety.
Officers are assisting licensees with measures they can take to safeguard both customers and staff and prevent issues including drink spiking.
A number of establishments throughout the town have been given 'spikeys' to hand out to drinkers.
It's a device that fits inside the neck of a bottle leaving room for only a straw to prevent a drink being tampered with.
Inspector Lizzie Jones, of the Tonbridge and Malling Community Safety Unit, said: "The vast majority of women enjoy the nightlife in towns such as Tonbridge without incident and we remain committed to doing everything we can to keep it that way.
"There are no specific premises with an issue around drink spiking, which remains extremely rare.
"However, it can happen and tampering with someone’s drink can make a person vulnerable and a victim of other crimes including sexual assault and theft."
Patrols are also ensuring employees are familiar with the 'Ask for Angela' initiative which enables people to discreetly ask bar staff for help if they feel they are in danger.
Ask for Angela can be used for those who do not feel safe with the person they are with, such as an abusive partner, or if they are on a first date with someone who is not who they previously claimed to be.
When the phrase is used, bar staff will know the person needs help and can provide discreet assistance, which may include notifying police.
Officers are also providing personal alarms to female members of staff who have to work late and may feel vulnerable if they have to walk home at night.
Inspector Jones added: "The work we do with our partners, pubs and restaurants and at busy transport hubs such as the train station, remains key to ensuring women can feel confident and safe when they are out, without the fear of becoming victims of crime."