Royal Gibraltar Police Gives Lowdown on Drink Spiking and Fake ID for Ocean Village Pubwatch
PC Anthony Debono of Royal Gibraltar Police’s (RGP) Crime Prevention & Reduction Unit gathered together Pubwatch members at Ocean Village HQ last week to give them a timely reminder of how to handle drink spiking and fake ID on licensed premises.
As the Christmas spirit levels rise, most revellers will be eating drinking and being merry in a fun, yet responsible manner. However, the RGP wants licensees to be aware of a small minority who could either spike drinks with serious consequences or attempt to buy alcohol before they are legally permitted.
Drink spiking is rare in Gibraltar but not completely unheard of. In essence it involves putting alcohol or drugs such as tranquilisers, amphetamines or rohypnol into another person’s drink without their knowledge or permission. Whether meant as a prank or for more sinister reasons, spiking is illegal and those responsible will be charged. It cannot be done by mistake and is always intended. The practice can be linked to crimes such as sexual assault and robbery as the victim’s defences are lowered making them vulnerable. Those most targeted are young women.
PC Debono said, “We’re asking our Pubwatch members to be vigilant and look out for signs of deliberate spiking. Perhaps a girl is drunk but in the company of a very sober guy – approach her and see if she’s ok and hear alarm bells if the girl says she’s only just met him. Watch out for someone who is fine one minute but suddenly intoxicated five or ten minutes later without having consumed extra alcohol. And look out for classic symptoms such as speech slurring, loss of inhibitions and mental confusion. If you’re concerned about someone’s welfare, make them feel safe, help them into a taxi or call the police. We’re not in the bars and restaurants so it’s up to licensees to be our eyes and ears.”
Pubwatch members were also advised to collect any empty or unattended glasses that could be used to dissolve drugs in and to exercise their right as a licensee to not serve alcohol to those who are intoxicated. PC Debono stressed the importance of making notes about any unusual incidents, keeping hold of drinks suspected to be spiked as police evidence, consulting their CCTV and reporting back any findings to the Pubwatch network and the police. The RGP find it easier to work with trends rather than isolated occurrences so this regular note making is of huge importance. He also stressed that spiking is not widespread in Gibraltar and, if it occurs, is most likely for prank purposes. Some people are convinced the ‘morning after’ that their drinks have been spiked but a quick blood test just shows that they overindulged on alcohol the night before.
The second part of the RGP Pubwatch workshop related to the use of fake ID to purchase alcohol underage. PC Debono gave various (confidential)
Since its launch in September of this year, Pubwatch has built strong links between the premises at Ocean Village to help combat minority bad behaviour for the benefit of all. The scheme sends out a clear message that Ocean Village has zero tolerance of drugs, violence, vandalism, excessive noise and other antisocial conduct.
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About Ocean Village - Gibraltar's Ocean Village is fast-gathering a reputation for being the rising star in the superyacht arena and is now competing with the most established marinas across the Mediterranean.
Located on the west side of Gibraltar, Ocean Village is the most sheltered marina in the region with close-up views of Africa some 14km across the Straits. As the ‘gateway to the Mediterranean’
Aside from geography, the Rock itself has obvious appeal to yacht owners. Gibraltar has Cat 1 Red Ensign Group status, EU membership and is the most important ship refuelling point in the Mediterranean thanks to cut-price fuel. It also has a favourable system of taxation (including no VAT), a no surprises legal system based on the UK and pound sterling as its currency.