Pub and bar managers in Kensington and Chelsea have been warned they need to work harder to reduce cocaine use on their premises after 39 of 41 pubs in the London borough were found to have traces of the drug.
Following the initial sting operation which revealed the extent of the problem, licensing officers, accompanied by local police officers, intend to visit all bars, pubs and clubs in the area over the next six months.
Premises that test positively for cocaine will be revisited and re-tested and if no evidence is found of attempting to minimise drug use, the police will apply to the Licensing Committee for a licence review.
Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown, cabinet member for environmental management at Kensington and Chelsea council, said: "It is extremely worrying that almost all of the premises we tested had traces of cocaine in their lavatory cubicles. In the vast majority of cases licensees do not want drug takers in their establishment.
"We will support those licensees who are tackling the problem, but those who have made absolutely no effort to reduce cocaine use may find their license under review."
The council and the police recommend that staff in bars and pubs make regular visits to the toilets, fix warning signs to the walls, and smear Vaseline on flat surfaces to reduce drug taking on the premises.
By Christopher Walton
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