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Tips for dealing with drugs in pubs

Helping you prevent the use and sale of drugs in your pub, we have put together a plan of action to ensure you and your customers are free from harm...

With the increasing focus on places where people take and deal drugs, pubs and clubs are thrust to the front line of enquiry. Here, we discuss some simple measures you can take to try to dissuade drug taking and dealing in your premises. 

No one size fits all solution

Whereas a major nightclub will have door supervisors at all times and therefore can carry out customer searches, or even have sniffer dogs, this would not work in a small local pub. However, that does not mean there are not measures that can be looked at. Remember, dealers and drug takers want places where they will be undetected. They seek out isolated spots away from supervision, such as toilets, gardens and car parks.

Draw up a policy

This does not necessarily have to be a long document, but going through the process will help you to identify potential weak spots and help staff understand what to look for and what to do in the event they suspect drugs are being taken or dealt.

Think about safety

The purpose of doing the work in advance is two-fold: (1) deter potential drug takers/ dealers; and (2) protect your staff and customers. This is not about staff being asked to tackle potentially dangerous people themselves, it's about giving them a structure where they feel supported in making the right call so that action can be taken where appropriate. Having a drug-safe, or locking drugs that are confiscated away safely for later removal by the police is also key.

Make taking drugs harder

This can be as simple as putting astroturf on flat surfaces in toilets, carrying out regular toilet checks and supervision of areas out of immediate sight. Good signage and random searches if you employ door supervisors can act as a deterrent, as can CCTV cameras covering otherwise out of the way spaces. Anything to make takers/dealers think they might get caught.

Talk to the police

The police will often be privy to information about potential issues in the area and whilst they may not be able to tell you about on-going operations, they can certainly help keep you in the loop more generally. They will also be able to help with your policies and give you examples of best practice you might be able to employ. You will also be helping them to deter drugs from being used in and around licensed premises in the area, for the benefit of everyone.


The BBPA has also produced a guide to keeping your premises drug free which can be downloaded via National Pubwatch here:

Drugs and Pubs Guide