'There's nowhere to hide': Police put on defiant front this weekend

.An officer watches Halloween clubbers on Prince of Wales Road

An officer watches Halloween clubbers on Prince of Wales Road. - Credit: Neil Perry/Archant

Neil Perry, the Evening News' visual news manager, on the night he spent with officers cracking down on drink spiking in the city. 

It would be hard to accuse Norfolk Police of not taking the increase in spiking seriously enough.

I was given access to Operation Impact in Prince of Wales Road on Saturday night for what detectives told me is one of the busiest night of the year. 

To be blunt - it seems like there is nowhere to hide for anyone trying to get away with this spineless crime in Norwich’s nightlife. 

I was with the public order team from their opening briefing at Bethel Street to the last mop up of people squabbling in taxi queues at gone 5am and saw how officers are throwing everything at the problem. 

During the evening briefing the dozens of officers were given specific instructions about what was expected of them should there be any suggestion of a spiking incident.

They were also thoroughly briefed on the importance of getting forensic evidence as quickly as possible. 

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By its very nature spiking is an incredibly difficult crime to identify. 

Officers are having to pick out the differences between people willingly intoxicated from someone spiked - or even injected with a needle - with something malicious.   

And for the first time on Saturday night the Norfolk Police drone team were part of the operation. 

Using thermal imaging they scoured the backstreets leading away from the main clubbing areas, and explained to me how they were looking for signs of anything that could be of concern.

This could be people appearing to be dragged away from an area or in obvious signs of distress that officers could be sent to investigate.   

Anyone who has been out in the city at some point in their adult life will know the atmosphere at that time of night. 

It can be fun, rough, noisy and chaotic, but from what I witnessed on Saturday you could feel the heightened awareness about spiking. 

Whenever officers or door staff had even the slightest concern spiking was an issue they were quick to investigate it and make sure that person was looked after as well as they possibly could. 

I also felt an increase in awareness from the public as well. 

If people feared friends or even strangers had been spiked they were quick to signal the problem, and to act.