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Fabric drug deaths: Club disputes critical police reports, vows to tighten up search policy and retrain staff

PUBLISHED: 12:58 31 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:28 31 August 2016

Fabric nightclub in Charterhouse Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Fabric nightclub in Charterhouse Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Farringdon “superclub” Fabric has “strongly contested” claims by police officers that drug abuse behind its doors is widespread – and has proposed a string of changes to its operation to cut the risk of further deaths there.

Fabric in 2016. Picture: Danny SeatonFabric in 2016. Picture: Danny Seaton

It comes after two boys died having taken ecstasy there over the summer.

If allowed to reopen following Tuesday’s license review meeting at Islington Town Hall, the club would introduce a new search policy on entry, it revealed today – as well as further training workers to spot people abusing drugs.

A club spokeswoman said this morning: “We strongly contest the allegation by the police that our club has created an environment where drug-taking is in any way acceptable.

“Our door staff conduct industry-standard searches and our staff are fully trained to identify and report drug dealing on the premises. In fact, we’ve referred 81 drug dealers to the police in recent years.”

A night out at Fabric in Farringdon (Picture: Fabio Venni/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0)A night out at Fabric in Farringdon (Picture: Fabio Venni/Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0)

It is a stark contrast with reports by top Islington police officers made public last week that will be considered by the licensing committee on Tuesday.

They say the two boys – the fifth and sixth drug deaths at Fabric since 2011 – had bought the class A drug from strangers inside the club, where substance abuse was said to be widespread.

One paper, by Supt Stuart Ryan, states: “If the premises is permitted to remain open and operating in its current form, there is a strong possibility that further drug related deaths will occur.”

But Fabric countered: “We strongly feel that closing Fabric, as an experienced and responsible operator which is willing to invest in pioneering techniques to reduce drug harm, can only make clubbing less safe in London.”

Fabric nightclub in Charterhouse Street. Picture: Polly HancockFabric nightclub in Charterhouse Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

They pointed to their onsite medics and “fully equipped medics room”, “experienced and highly trained staff” and partnership with charity The Loop, which works to minimise “drug-related harm” in nightclubs.

Details of the proposed stricter search policy have yet to be unveiled.

Drugs, the spokeswoman explained, “continue to be a major and constantly evolving challenge for clubs like ours”.

“We recognise there is always more we can learn and we are independently reviewing all our procedures in light of recent events,” she said.

Gazette poll result: Do you think Fabric should stay open?

2,408

Yes

134

No

“As part of this we have put forward a set of proposals to police and the licensing authority which we feel constitutes a substantial change to our operations.

“Our aim is to create a new gold standard in clubbing safety and we hope that the police and licensing authority will work with us to achieve this and to keep Fabric open so we can continue to be a part of Islington as we have for the past 17 years.”

Meanwhile a Gazette poll run over the weekend showed overwhelming support for keeping the club open.

More than 2,400 people – 95 per cent – said they didn’t want it to close permanently, with only 5pc – 134 people – saying it was time for it to shut.

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