Pubs in Midlothian will be warned they face losing their licence if they fail to stop spiking incidents on their premises in a new campaign.
Councillors this week backed a call for action to tackle a nationwide increase in reports of people’s drinks being spiked on nights out.
Councillor Stephen Curran brought a motion to a virtual meeting of members, calling for more proactive action against the crime.
He told them: “Everyone has a right to enjoy themselves in a safe manner and to know exactly what is in their drink.
“There are no circumstances in which spiking is acceptable.
“Whether it’s an extra shot of alcohol or something more dangerous, it doesn’t matter. It’s wrong and everybody has the right to know what they are putting in their body.”
Cllr Curran praised the recent Girls Night In campaign which saw female clubbers across the country boycott nightclubs in protest at the crimes.
But he called for more work to be done with licensed premises to keep their customers safe from the “criminal and predatory” behaviour.
He said: “This crime seems to be on the increase.
“The majority of reports were from young women but this is also an issue that affects men as well, although the motives appear to be different so women are being targeted by sexual predators, however in the case of males it seems to be some perverse kind of prank, although not in all cases.”
He added that the incidents were not exclusive to licensed premises and can happen anywhere.
The motion was seconded by councillor Margot Russell, who welcomed the timing of an intervention before the festive season.
She said: “We have the power as the licensing authority to ensure this is highlighted in all licensed premises and make them aware this sort of thing could happen in their premises and put their licence in danger.”
Councillors considered introducing an additional statement to their licensing policy, warning premise owners about the risk of action if a spiking incident occurred but were advised that under current duty of care requirements in the policy the power was already there to intervene.
It was agreed to take a uniform approach through an information campaign to licensed businesses to make it clear they are expected to be educated and train staff on the issue was well as educating customers.
By local democracy reporter Marie Sharp