Professor Fiona Measham

Professor Fiona Measham

Professor Fiona Measham

Detection dogs, deterrence and the policing of festival drug use: Reflections from the UK

Drug detection dogs or ‘sniffer dogs’ are widely used to police the possession of illegal drugs at festivals, nightclubs and other venues around the world but what is the current evidence base on their effectiveness? How do we unpick and unpack the complexities of public policing, private security and events management, against a backdrop of inevitable tensions between public health, criminal justice and human rights? How do events address the competing demands of protecting customers, preventing crime and reducing drug-related harm? Fiona will discuss her research at UK nightclubs and her evidence to a London nightclub’s licensing review on the efficacy of sniffer dogs that was pivotal in the judge deciding to overturn a licensing condition obliging the world-renowned Fabric dance club to have sniffer dogs on its doors.

Fiona Measham is co-founder & co-Director of ‘The Loop’. The Loop conducts forensic testing of drugs at UK festivals and nightclubs and provides associated welfare support. Fiona Measham was appointed Professor of Criminology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University in 2012. Fiona has conducted research for over two decades across a broad area of criminology and social policy, exploring changing trends in legal and illegal drugs; the night time economy and the socio-cultural context to consumption; gender; the regulation and policing of intoxication; electronic music scenes and club cultures; issues of deterrence, displacement and desistance; and broader policy implications. A key feature of her research has been the development of in-situmethods of data collection in pubs, clubs and festivals, a working environment with which she is familiar, having spent her early adulthood working in bars and clubs across several continents in various guises.