Going out

Entering Clubs

Most clubs employ door staff (bouncers) who have the right to refuse entry without giving a reason. Door staff may ask to search a customer, for drugs or weapons, before entry. However, they have no statutory right to enforce this search and if you refuse all they can do is prevent you from entering.

Remember that only female door staff should search women and that no one except the police have the power to perform a strip search.


Small items such as wallets, bags, mobile phones and watches are frequently stolen, lost or damaged in pubs and clubs. If you’re going to a club try to take cash rather than credit cards with you and use the cloakroom facilities available to store bulkier items. If you find that your phone or wallet has been taken, report the theft immediately to the cloakroom or door staff, as there’s a chance it may have been handed in. It’s also important to report such thefts to the police as you may need an incident number to make a successful insurance claim.


If your phone is stolen, report your number to your network operator and the police. The handset can now be barred on all networks and will be useless to theives. If you don’t know the operator number call 08701 123 123 for more information.

You can safeguard your mobile, and reduce the risk of it being stolen by taking the following action:

  • Make sure the PIN is activated as this will prevent unauthorised calls being made from the moment your phone is stolen.
  • Keep a record of your IMEI number (usually found behind the battery). This 15 digit number is unique to your handset and should be reported to the police, if stolen.
  • Insure your mobile phone.
  • Register your mobile phone with the operator.
  • When not in use, keep your phone out of sight (e.g. not on the table in front of you, or an outside pocket of your bag).


If your wallet is stolen, it’s important to cancel any credit or debit cards as soon as possible–a replacement is usually sent within seven working days. Other cards, such as video store cards, University cards and library cards should also be cancelled. Information about replacing lost or stolen University cards is available here.


The decision of whether or not to use drugs, legal or illegal, is up to you. However, if you have used them, or might experiment in the future, it’s best to be informed and be aware that night clubs, pubs and other venues have a legal responsibility to prevent drug dealing within their premises. For more information, visit the A–Z of drugs.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA, 1971) the police have the power to search and detain anyone who they suspect is in possession of illegal drugs. Door staff at venues may also search customers and will detain anyone found to be carrying drugs until the police arrive.

If you are arrested on suspicion of drug abuse, or drug dealing, you should insist on seeing a solicitor (you might have to wait for a representative to arrive). Don’t be put off seeing a solicitor by the police, and don’t worry that it makes you look guilty–it doesn’t. It just makes you look like you know your rights.

Drink spiking

If you leave your drink unattended in a bar or club, you put yourself at risk, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman.

Drink spiking is rare, but can be very dangerous. Police estimate that 1 in 3 victims of drug–assisted sexual assault are students, most of whom have their drink spiked in pubs or clubs. It’s therefore very important to be aware of the symptoms and to look out for yourself, and your mates, when at events.

Symptoms of drink spiking can include:

  • Unexplained, sudden tiredness,
  • Disorientation,
  • Sickness,
  • Dizziness,
  • Short–term memory loss and blackouts.

Symptoms can last for up to eight hours and usually take effect around 30 minutes after a spiked drink is consumed. In many ways someone who has had their drink spiked may act like they are very drunk. For more information and simple ways to protect yourself click here.

Aggressive begging

There are over 100 people who regularly beg in the Cambridge area. Some of these are known to be persistent and aggressive beggars and several are not genuinely homeless. If you want to help the homeless, make sure that you give money to recognised charities or use the “Make It Count” alternative giving scheme. Donation boxes for this scheme can be found in the CUSU Offices, the Corn Exchange, Tourist Information Centre and Marks & Spencer store.

To report an incident of aggressive begging call Parkside Police Station on 01223 358966. You may be asked for a description of the person involved. In an emergency always call 999.