Scotland’s Club Tropicana attendees were met with a surprise over the weekend of Sept. 4 when law enforcement arrived on the scene to drug test those waiting in line prior to their entry.
The test incited disgruntled responses from both the club-goers and club promoters who felt that barring entry for those who failed to submit to the hand-swabbing test was a breach in basic citizen rights.
“I support an anti-drug policy,” says club owner Tony Cochran, “but I feel this latest action by Police Scotland is a step too far in regards to civil liberties. Officers stood at the club entrance and took sample swabs on customers entering with an expectation we should refuse admission to ‘non-compliants’.”
Scotland Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has since made it clear that officers are not allowed to conduct these searches unless they have “reasonable grounds” to suspect an actual crime. Nevertheless, officers have told Cochran that they will be returning to the club in a few months to test again.
“These operations are carried out regularly across the city centre’s licensed premises as part of Police Scotland’s duty to keep people safe,” as Scotland’s Inspector Lorna Ferguson explains. “They are set up in advance and done with the full co-operation of the premises’ managers and staff.”
Cochran was given a one-hour notice before the police arrived to administer the test, and of the 100 attendees that were swabbed, zero individuals tested positive for drugs.
This incident is just one of a few that Scottish club-goers have experienced in the past few years, with other spontaneous drug testing occurrences dating as early as 2008. Whether larger civil action takes place remains to be scene, but club promoters and attendees alike will undoubtedly continue to speak out against the unfair nature of these stop-and-search drug tests.
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