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Police Examine SkyDome Drugs Success

Coventry police are to set to extend a new drugs and security policy across the city.

The force has been studying the search and confiscation policy of the SkyDome entertainment complex and is now hoping other clubs will follow in its footsteps.

The £40 million complex, which contains a nine-screen cinema, two nightclubs, a café bar and a live entertainment venue, has, according to a senior city policeman, set new standards in club crime protection.

Superintendent Neil Goosey said the force had studied SkyDome and a sister complex in Hemel Hempstead and is now using its methods in training courses.

"We were extremely satisfied with the responsible way Rank Leisure implemented their policies on security and drugs.

"The complex has new owners in Northern Leisure and they have indicated they are following the same policies. The complex has become a driving force on the issue in the city and has certainly set the standards.

"We have seen their operation elsewhere and we are very keen for their culture of zero tolerance to be extended to every venue in the city so that people who peddle and use drugs know that they will not be welcome in the city.

"We are using some of the SkyDome methods in our training courses and hope to roll out the same policy across the city."

SkyDome opened in October and has welcomed well over 250,000 visitors. Thirty-one people have been arrested for drugs possession and related offences, while 21 have been arrested for public order offences.

The SkyDome management has handed 30 CCTV video tapes to the police to use as evidence and also captured some instances of criminal damage in Spon Street. Again the evidence has been passed to the police.

SkyDome manager Ian Knight said: 

"A lot of money was invested in security when the complex was built and we have 146 CCTV cameras across the site. Our drugs policy is simple – we do not tolerate them.

"We employ registered door staff who are trained in search procedures and while we are rigorous in our screening, people are not inconvenienced.

"People on a night out want to know that they will be safe and secure and able to enjoy themselves in that type of environment. We find that our customers are appreciative of our methods.

"We also have very close liaison with the police who have been very supportive of everything we are trying to achieve. There is a strong moral responsibility on clubs and pubs to provide a safe environment for their customers and in our book that means no drugs."

Northern Leisure has also won acclaim for their Club Culture evenings which introduce 14-17 year olds to club life in an alcohol-free event.

MORE INFORMATION:  Advent Communications  024 76 633636

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CWN / Tourism & Leisure / SkyDome Coventry / 14 Feb 00

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