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Spiked drinks warning by women's club


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THREE ways to guard against your drink being spiked are listed in a leaflet jointly produced by Tunbridge Wells and District Soroptimist Club and West Kent Police.

Spiking, or "slipping someone a Mickey Finn", is putting a harmful substance into someone's food or drink without their knowledge. And it is a crime. It can often be the first stage in rape or theft from a paralysed or unconscious victim.

The three key messages drafted by the women's club are:

o tell someone where you are going and let them know if your plans change

o don't go to pubs, clubs and parties on your own

o don't be embarrassed to walk out of any situation where you feel uncomfortable

There is also a plea for people to watch out for others - Be A Friend - and alert them to any suspicious behaviour or seeking help should they begin acting strangely.

Copies of the leaflet are being sent to some 15,000 secondary school pupils in West Kent, and around 60 town centre publicans are being asked to include the advice in staff training.

It can also be obtained on request from police stations in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.

Soroptimists' president Mary Harris said: "This leaflet is part of a series of projects our club is undertaking. These apply a woman's perspective to personal safety threats and suggest ways to make the environment safer for all. Our surveys have shown personal safety is a high priority among girls and women. The possibility of being drugged and raped is every woman's nightmare."

West Kent area police commander, Supt Andy Dolden, said: "We're very pleased to support this leaflet produced by a local community group. Sensible advice which takes the fear out of a situation and which could lead to the prevention of crime is always a good thing."

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