We share this update in the interest of openness and honesty.

As a long-standing institution in Fallowfield, we aim to create a welcoming and safe environment. We are taking more measures than ever to do so.

We recognise that some issues affect a disproportionate number of females and that safety at night is one of them. We have taken time to speak to customers, staff and the local community members and authorities to better understand the issue, reflect and look at how we can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. As we welcome hundreds of students through our doors each day, both as guests and the students from nearby universities that we employ to work for us. We recognise the responsibility we have to these young people and as young adults, students can be at greater potential risk of harm from ever-evolving threats and female students even more so. We believe we have historically had a strong track record of creating a safe and welcoming environment and whilst “spiking” of drinks is not an entirely new issue we have seen first-hand the worrying increase in incidents and recognise more can be done.

We hope that no one should ever experience a “spiking” and have been shocked by what we have seen. The possession (or supply) of illegal substances or dangerous substances on our premises is a crime and the substances themselves are prohibited. Whilst we take action to prevent and prosecute anyone involved in any illegal activities on our premises we have been shocked and saddened to hear reports both in the media and closer to home not just here in Fallowfield, but across Manchester.
As a small, local business we strive to deliver an experience where customers want to come back time after time. We employ professional staff and enthusiastic students in an attempt to be professional but also keep our business close to the heart of student matters and needs. We naturally take the safety of everyone who visits as our legal, professional and moral responsibility and understand the significance given this ultimately affects our livelihoods, careers and professional and personal reputation.

For someone to carry out such an act on another person, seems unspeakable to us. But, unfortunately, experience has shown there are people out there that carry out this kind of unacceptable behaviour.

We are working to eradicate incidents and identify the culprits who have been ruining not only the Manchester nightlife so far this semester, but also the health and wellbeing of our customers.

Below we have shared some of the procedural and operational changes we have brought into place over the last couple of weeks and days, to try to combat the increase in spikings.

  • As you may have seen at the beginning of October we have made anti-spiking devices such as lids and stoppers/caps with straws readily available for anyone, free of charge on all our bars all day long. image of drink lids and bottle toppers for safety
  • We have upgraded and increased our CCTV system to cover all corners of the venue with improved picture quality. This includes behind the bar.
  • We have increased security on nights. This also entails a stricter security policy on the door. Limiting events to students only. Along with more security inside during club nights. We have also put in a mandatory search for all bags, male or female. All security must now wear body cameras and we have plain-clothed security patrolling inside the venue throughout club nights.
  • We have discussed these issues in person with GMP (Greater Manchester Police) and we are working alongside them in their investigations that are currently ongoing.
    Along with this, we have asked for officers to show presence in the venue to try to deter anyone from doing such acts. Furthermore, undercover police will do rounds of the venue during club nights.
    We are actively in close contact with the police on a regular basis to keep up to date with any issues.

This weekend we are introducing a new procedure following feedback and suggestions.
We will designate a safe space in the form of an accessible room where we can easily and safely accommodate guests who we believe may be isolated, alone or vulnerable to reduce any potential harm. This gives us time to find friends for them and time to assess the situation instead of just bringing people outside where they may not feel as safe.

During club nights we have hired designated glass collectors to remove all empty or unattended drinks from the sides and particularly quiet areas of the venue. This should hopefully prevent opportunities from arising from would-be threats targeting random drinks leftover or guests picking up the wrong drink.
In addition, we now employ toilet attendants for both male and female bathrooms to give us more coverage of the nightclub.

We have scaled up our staff training providing all members of staff, whether bar or security, to be more proactive in recognising and dealing with potential spiking incidents. Eyes will be constantly on alert to identify potential dubious behaviour or spiking situations before they arise. All allegations brought forward to any member of the team will be dealt with in a prompt manner and taken seriously.

We are now working alongside the ‘Good Night Out’ campaign to provide us with their specialist knowledge and training in dealing with incidents of this nature.

If you ever feel as though someone is acting suspiciously, please bring it to the attention of the security or manager. You will be taken seriously and your concern dealt with confidentially as possible.

We want you to know that we are taking these incidents seriously and like you, want to see an end to them. We are aware this is Manchester-wide, but from our end, we want to actively engage and take new measures as soon as is possible whilst we monitor the impact of changes with the aim of trying to stop them from happening at all costs. Anyone caught participating in spiking will be passed over to the authorities immediately. As highlighted recently the Police have assured us they are also taking matters seriously and sentences will be passed down for malicious offences such as spiking.

We are always open to feedback, we welcome questions and wish for an open dialogue on this topic to ensure we continue to keep this issue front of mind and are supporting our fantastic student community and particularly the female community.

256 Team