Interviews

Nottingham Club’s Response To Recent Spikings: Protecting The Public Or Their Image?

Esme McKenzie

Esme McKenzie spoke exclusively to two students who have been spiked, one of whom say’s she felt “invalid” and “always on edge” after being spiked.

Student Daisy Bradley was in her second week of Freshers when her drink was spiked at the nightclub Unit 13. Her friends noticed a sudden change in her behaviour, she couldn’t stand up, began to sound drowsy and minutes later she collapsed. Daisy says the way she was treated by the club’s bouncers was “horrific”.

“A lot of the bouncers at first were trying to get rid of me and convince me and everyone else that I was fine…they literally didn’t make an effort to do anything.”

She said the bouncers did not believe she had been spiked and told everyone, “I had drank too much”. Daisy says she’d only had a couple of drinks and insists she couldn’t have been very drunk. The bouncers then reportedly left her on the pavement outside of the club. It was only when her friends told the bouncers that she had a heart condition that the manager of the club was fetched. Daisy suffers from arrhythmia. This means that she has ectopic heart beats; being spiked poses a serious risk to her health. Daisy says that had it not been for her friends mentioning her heart condition she would have not have received the care she needed.

“They definitely only cared because I had a heart condition, had people not told them…they would not have dealt with me”. The manager of Unit 13 ensured she got the help she needed.

I got very lucky finding the manager and my friends. 

Daisy went on to say she believes “If you see someone in such a vulnerable state and see a girl upset and not being able to control herself you shouldn’t then be trying to get rid of them. As a human you should actively help people.”

Nottingham city has been reporting large numbers of similar incidents at other clubs such as Pryzm, Rock City and Stealth. Sophie was also in her first term at the University when she was reportedly spiked at Nottingham’s largest club Rock City. Like Daisy, this is the first time Sophie has spoken out about her experience, though she asked for her name to be changed to protect her identity. Sophie’s recollection is mainly from what the friends who were looking after her told her. She said, “I can’t remember much about how the staff treated me because I was very out of it but from what my friends said, they were good at getting me outside and sat me down but in terms of getting me to the hospital they didn’t seem to care about that.”

Sophie was taken to hospital but she says it was “all thanks to her friend who chased down a policeman outside the club”. She’s still waiting for the results of the tests and even now struggles to understand how the assault took place. “At first I thought it was in my drink…but I couldn’t work out how, because I only had two jagerbombs. Then a couple of days later, I found a pinprick with a perfect circular bruise.” It was only then that she knew she had been injected.

Being spiked has had detrimental effects on both students. Sophie says that she is “a lot more wary” and “refuse[s] to take my eyes off my drinks now”.

“I’m also now very wary of my arms when we’re on the dance floor, in particular when people push through crowds.” Daisy says now she only feels comfortable going out in a large group. “I wouldn’t feel safe going out in a smaller group of just girls.” She no longer trusts club bouncers or believes that they have her best interests at heart. “It’s not seen as a serious thing because it’s so common, they just try and get rid of you.”

Then a couple of days later, I found a pinprick with a perfect circular bruise.

Clubs across Nottingham have tightened up on security. People are being searched much more thoroughly, with some clubs introducing metal detectors, and the majority of clubs are now offering drink covers. However, Daisy and Sophie feel that not enough is being done. Daisy argues that there is “still a lack” of drinks covers in clubs and “more needs to be more…its basic protection”.

For all that Nottingham nightclubs claim to be improving safety, when contacted to talk about the issue, not a single one responded. Sophie said: “Honestly I think they’re just trying to protect their image and name, especially in a big club like Rock City which has been around for decades.” Daisy believes that clubs need to start “taking it more seriously.” She believes that they are only taking the issue seriously at the moment “to avoid [negative] press coverage and they don’t want a bad name for their club.” The biggest concern is what will happen when the media moves on?

Esme McKenzie


Featured image courtesy of Aleksander Pasaric from Pexels. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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