High-tech scanner will check Havering revellers for drugs

Havering bars, pubs and clubs will be having spot drugs checks with equipment that can detect traces of illegal substances on surfaces, objects and even people.

The “drugs itemiser” uses swabs to test for the level of drugs including cannabis, cocaine and ecstacy, and how recently they were used.

Using a green, amber or red reading, the machine can tell the difference between accidental contamination, through �5 notes for example, and personal use.

Council officers and the police licensing enforcement team plan to visit premises across the borough at least twice a month with the equipment.

If drugs traces are found, the council and police will work with the premises to prevent drug use.

Councillor Geoff Starns, cabinet member for community safety, said: “This is another important initiative where we are working closely with the local police to crack down on any kind of drug use in our licensed premises.

“We want Havering to be a safe and welcoming borough for all our residents and visitors. That is why we are working so hard to ensure the night-time economy is as safe as possible.

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“We won’t only be visiting venues in Romford town centre, we will be rolling this out across the borough and working with licensees all over Havering.”

Prevention techniques include getting rid of flat surfaces to make snorting cocaine and similar drugs more difficult, increasing door checks and educating staff.