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Drug Testing News
Pub customers face
random drug testing
By Lorna McVicars
12:20 Wednesday 12th February 2003
A Borehamwood bar took action against cocaine use on its
premises last week, with the help of Hertfordshire police's
new drug-testing machine.
At Woods bar, in Shenley Road, last Wednesday evening, 14
police officers tested 148 people and searched the 27 who gave
positive readings for recent contact with drugs. One person
was arrested and cautioned for possessing cocaine.
Hertfordshire Constabulary set up the portable Itemiser
machine inside the entrance to Woods, and customers had to be
tested to enter. The £35,000 machine, one of two in the
county, was set to test for cocaine, heroin, cannabis,
amphetamine and ecstasy, although it can identify 200
different drugs and explosives.
A cloth was wiped across the palm of each customer and put
into the Itemiser to measure, within 10 seconds, any contact
with drugs. A positive reading is used to indicate someone may
have drugs on them.
Woods' manager Hayley Withers said drug-taking was not welcome
at the bar, and added: "There has been evidence of people
taking drugs here I think it is cocaine. At the end of the
day, people have to realise it is not good for them,
especially when they are drinking."
Woods agreed, at a recent Pubwatch meeting between licensees
and police, to become the first premises in Borehamwood to use
the machine, and police plan to use it at other venues in the
Sgt Nat Landau, of Hertsmere's community police team, said:
"The mixture of alchohol and drugs makes people
Insp Dave Rankin said: "Hertfordshire is not soft on drugs."
He added: "We have now got a machine which we can use in the
pubs and is fully portable. We can use it randomly and when we
get information that drugs are being dealt or used in any
premises we will go down there.
"It is a deterrent. If people are going to pubs, and they are
not going to know when or where we are going to be using the
machine, they will think twice before going out and having
drugs with them or using drugs."