Your home is still your Castle

A Look at ‘strangers at your door’


The majority of people who knock on your door or ring the bell are genuine, bona fide individuals who are there for any number of  legitimate reasons, from family members visiting a relative to delivery operatives like post office workers and courier companies, religious groups, door-to-door sales people, officials from Government  and Parish departments etc. They all have a genuinely held belief that they are at your door for a specific and legal enterprise.

However, there are also unscrupulous individuals and groups that sometimes target premises for nefarious aims, such a burglary, theft and assault (both criminal and/or sexual). These peoples’ aim is to attempt to gain entry by using pursuasive engagement and a well rehearsed story to gain your confidence enough so that you will happily grant them entry. These individuals are generally known as ‘confidence tricksters’, who uses a seemingly genuine sounding story to gain access to you and your belongings.

Regularly used identities have been that they are from the electricity company, water board, local council, telephone engineer, social services, housing department etc.; the list and made up stories are endless. And some people  are excellent at convincing you that they are the genuine person, even producing fake letters with officially looking letter heads, fake identity cards and signage on vehicles.

If a person turns up at your door claiming to be from a utilities company, often these are visits that happen on a regular basis and the representative is known to them. They used to expect the electric meter reader, or the water meter guy to come at set times of the year or the daily post man delivery. Often, if a resident is elderly, this can be the only human contact that many have.

Below are a few tips if you are unsure as to who is coming to your door:


  • Prior to opening your door, put the safety chain on (if you do not have a safety chain fitted, I would recommend that you do so). 
  • For an extra level of security one could have a spy hole fitted which allows you to view a wide angle of who is at your door. There are now door bells on the market that allow you to view, record and speak to the person on your mobile device without having to open the door.
  • Ask the person to identify themselves. If they are genuine, they will have no problem complying with this request. Ask for an official identity card. If they produce a business card, this is not an identity card as they normally do not carry a photograph of the holder but, it does give you an opportunity to contact the person’s place of work to see if they have sent out someone to see you. Even if they give you an identity card, they will not be fazed by you ringing their workplace to check. DO NOT let them in unless you are satisfied that they are genuine. Err on the side of caution.
  • An ‘official-looking letter’, on its own, is not proof of identity. Anybody can mock up this type of document in minutes on a home computer.
  • Prior to letting someone in, ask them to state clearly and in easy to understand language, what they are at your premises to do. If they are too vague or have no specific task, do not let them in.
  • If you are unsure of anything, contact a friend or family member who can either come down straight away or at a later time and arrange with the person at the door to come back when you have company.
  • Sometimes, people who would gain entry to your house, to steal or worse, may have been watching yours and/or other peoples’ houses for a while so that they can select likely targets. Unfortunately this seems to be narrowed down to the elderly and vulnerable and people living on their own, sometimes at isolated addresses.
  • If in doubt, do not let them in and call the Police.

I have noticed, as technology improves, that some of the traditional utilities companies no longer need to physically gain entry to premises to read meters and check gauges. This can all be done via interactive technology where meters are read remotely by computers. No need to leave the office.

Finally, for now, and something that has come to Jersey in the recent past, that has been prevalent for years on the British mainland; DODGY BUILDERS.


There is a regular occurrence in the UK whereby an alleged ‘Builder’ would turn up at your door unannounced and tell you that, while driving past your house, they had noticed that you have problems on your roof, guttering, exterior facade, chimney etc., it could be anything. If you do not know much about building construction, it would be very easy for someone to invent a plausible story to try and convince you that work needed to be done and that it was fortunate that they were passing.

These persons invariably will give you an on-the-spot quote, normally vastly inflated and state that the problem, if there ever was one in the first place, was a lot bigger that they first thought. The price would then steadily increase to sometimes eye-watering proportions, but many vulnerable and elderly people will go along with this. These con-artists are normally extremely convincing. It has been known for these people to drive the householder to a cash point or several cash points to draw out money which they always, “need up front’. They then milk the situation for as long as they are able and regularly leave the house in a worse state than they found it before disappearing without trace and move on to their next victim.

This is not a dig at genuine builders, whether small works companies or larger contractors who in most cases are genuine Company’s, fully insured and experts in their trade. This is about the chancer in a van, with their eye to a quick scam, with enough general knowledge to sound plausible, whose sole intention is to rip people off and disappear without trace. If in doubt say no and call the Police to check.

In Jersey, we are seeing more and more UK registered ‘works’ vans on the island’s roads. Many are genuine and here for a lawful purposes who, if required, have obtained the relevant licenses to operate but, there are still some who have slipped the net at the Port of entry and are here to make a quick buck before disappearing from our shores back to the mainland.



Self Defence; Does it really do what it says on the tin?



In every town and city in Britain, there are people attending public classes, courses and seminars on the subject of self-defence. These can include self-defence for woman, the elderly, vulnerable, the disabled or just the population at large.


One source of self-defence classes are the ‘martial arts clubs’, a group of people practising the fundamentals of a usually oriental fighting style, originating from different systems, from countries such as India, China, Japan, Korea etc.

Martial arts traditionally runs on a hierarchal basis whereby, in the past, the most experienced, skilled and highest graded person, usually a black belt, would be considered the leader of the club or school. In Japanese terminology, this person would be called “sensei” (in Japanese culture; different names in other countries), more commonly translated as “person born before another” or “one who comes before”. It does not specifically mean “teacher” but by the inference of being older and more experienced, it related to someone with more knowledge and developed skill than a newer student.  Of course now, due to international development and the spread of martial arts training to the majority of countries around the globe, a “sensei” is not necessarily older in age, but will most likely be experienced and skilled enough to pass on the philosophy and techniques of a martial art to those, of whatever age, who wish to learn, and there are many reasons why people wish to take up a martial art. Those can be:

  • For health and fitness
  • To learn a competitive sport (not all martial arts hold competitions)
  • To learn self-defence
  • To provide social interaction, forming friendships
  • To learn a new skill
  • For mental health development
  • To understand body mechanics and learn more about your body’s capabilities

The list is varied but not exhaustive.

Martial arts styles are a way of teaching the fundamentals of forms of combat in times when a human had to regularly fight for their very existence. In modern times many styles have been ‘watered down’ to fit in with current laws, sensibilities and ways of life as well as in the development of sport and social interaction. That doesn’t mean that martial arts are ineffective; far from it. A potential student has a vast choice of martial styles and invariably they choose one that suits their requirements. Some join to learn to fight and defend themselves; some for competition; others for tradition or for fitness of mind and body and many for a combination of reasons., but!

Is it self-defence?


I always say that martial arts and self-defence are on the same spectrum but are different animals. Martial arts deal with passing on knowledge, and training in a system that originated from traditional fighting styles mainly from the Orient. Over the years, while some of the traditional, often feudal fighting styles, have remained true to their origins, many are  diluted and there are newer styles that have emerged but, since we mostly have the same limbs and body parts, these are often based on more ancient styles of combat, going back many centuries. Some may claim that they have devised a new martial art, but I can guarantee that it will have been drawn from an already established style or combination of styles. This is how martial arts evolve.

I have attended, sometimes as a guest instructor,  various martial arts clubs in Britain and Europe over the last thirty-five years who have organised a ‘self-defence’ course, often aimed at women and more likely than not, after a particular event has become prominent in the news eg. the rape or sexual assault/s in the locality, an increase of reported domestic violence incidents, national or international news coverage etc. therefore, is the specific course aiming to draw in people who feel vulnerable because of what is reported in the media, or does it aim to amplify irrational fears and insecurities among a particular demographic in order to gain higher course participation? 

There are, of course, many reasons why a particular section of society would want to undertake a ‘self-defence’ course; to learn something new, hone some skills already learnt, increase their knowledge of a wide and diverse subject, to feel better equipped, help build confidence and self esteem; the list is endless.

Sometimes I used to see adverts that, while attempting to draw in women to participate, they would add the promise that after a short period of time, six, eight, ten weeks maybe, after completing a course, they would be “confident enough to defend themselves in any real-life scenario.”

Sorry to burst that bubble but that is not an endorsement anybody should offer or can back up, theoretically or practically. Nobody knows how they will react to a particular fear induced and stressful verbal and/or physical altercation. Training to any level does not include dealing with the one thing that you can never reproduce in any training environment, the FEAR FACTOR.

What you have in a training environment at best, is more knowledge than you had before, which might be useful in helping you to defend yourself from an assault, attack, abduction etc. but there can be NO GUARANTEES that you will be able to remember, let alone implement, techniques and drills that you have learned on a short course, which can often be taught by people who have little or no understanding of REAL violence.

A high ranking martial artist does not necessarily understand raw violence if they have never worked in that environment or been exposed to it personally. Many of the techniques that I have seen, both in real time and online, use totally fictitious and unlikely scenarios and even more dubious ways to defend against those fantasy attacks. Teaching these to small groups is bad enough, but sharing them on a worldwide online platform, such as You Tube, will draw people in and give them a false sense of security.

There are groups out there who claim to have the ability to reproduce the ‘fear factor’ to a training environment but,what they are actually doing, is putting people under a severe level of ‘stress’ by overwhelming them emotionally with shouting, posturing and screaming profanities, while subjecting them to physical pressure by unleashing one or more ‘attackers’, who are often wearing full rubber protective suit/s. Stressful? Yes; Real Fear? ABSOLUTELY NOT. The ‘victim’ knows it is not real regardless of what type of spin is put on it.

While certain levels of stress do trigger the release of the hormone adrenaline, causing a number of recognisable symptoms (eg. heart rate increase, shortness of breath, mind going blank, being given no time to think etc.), the participants still know that the attack is not REAL and for many reasons, none more so than the health and safety of participants and having to adhere to a legitimate insurance policy, plus the fact that an instructor should know when to step in and terminate the exercise, if it looks like the ‘victim’ is being overwhelmed, this does not constitute real life and is a different feeling than that of RAW FEAR, where you do not have people guiding you or stopping the attack if it starts to go wrong. Feeling real fear is the way for the body to release adrenaline to aid a ‘fight or flight’ physical response. It is a different feeling to a controlled and stressful exercise, which can be anything from running away, through brain freeze, to fighting like a demon. Nobody can predict how anyone will respond.

There is one thing that I can assure you of; that until you have experienced real, unadulterated, terrifying fear, you will never know what it feels like, no matter how much training that you undertake. If a person ever tells you that they do not, nor ever have felt fear in a real violent attack (physical assaults are rare, so do not believe that there is a ‘ninja’ around every corner), they are lying or, they had their bodies anaesthetised with drink and/or drugs at the time and their feelings were somewhat scrambled and inhibitions lowered.



In Part 2 we will be looking more closely at what, in my view, should be included in any self defence course; AWARENESS.

PART 2 – Self defence is 10% physical, 90% AWARENESS.













‘Drink Spiking’ – Reality or Urban Myth?


To ‘spike’ a drink means to put alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink, without their knowledge or permission.

Drink spiking is illegal, whatever the intent. This means that slipping alcohol or drugs into a friend’s drink, as a joke, is against the Law. People who spike drinks can be charged with an offence, fined or jailed.

The original offence in Law in the UK can be found in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, Article 24 in that,

Maliciously administering poison with intent to injure, aggrieve, or annoy any other person.

Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously administer to or cause to be administered to or taken by any other person any poison or other destructive or noxious thing, with intent to injure, aggrieve, or annoy such person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be kept in penal servitude.”


Every Friday and Saturday night, people gather in the pubs and nightclubs of Jersey, to relax and enjoy themselves at the end of the working week. Depending on where you go, the premises can often be a tightly packed mass of bodies with very little room to move, with music, either canned or live, played at a decibel level that can make it difficult to communicate verbally.

People are there to enjoy themselves and relax but, in such circumstances, it gives those with nefarious intentions more chance to work undetected. This can include dealing illicit drugs or the ‘spectre in the room’, the possibility of slipping a substance into a person’s drink in the hope that they may be able to take advantage of that person later on. This is called ‘drink spiking’ and is often talked about but not taken too seriously by many people, who believe that while this kind of activity might happen regularly in big cities in the UK, surely it is a rarity in Jersey.

It can be very difficult to know the difference sometimes, between drink spiking and consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol, as some of the symptoms are identical, but there ARE marked differences.

When I was a serving police officer, Jersey had a case where a young lady believed that she had her drink spiked in a local nightclub and remembered fragmented bits from the night before, but large parts of her memory were blank. She was found wandering the inner streets of St. Helier town centre, partially clothed and disheveled. When questioned, she had some recollection of events and remembered someone having sex with her but not being able to move or cry out, even though she tried. She described herself feeling like she was paralysed but, at the same time, aware of what was happening. As a result of this complaint, several young men were charged with rape and other sexual assaults.

In September 2005, in a front page article in the Jersey Evening Post, a young lady alleged that her drink had been spiked in a St. Helier nightclub on the Friday night of a Bank Holiday weekend. In the article she criticised the Police for failing to take her complaint seriously.

It is alleged that she suddenly collapsed on the dance floor, while dancing with friends, and immediately became incoherent. This was said to be totally out of character. Once her friends had taken her home, the Police were called.

Samples were taken at the Police Station but there was a delay getting them tested (the report does not say what samples were taken; ie whether they were urine and/or blood) and they were sent to the States Analyst on the following Tuesday due to the Bank Holiday. Later, the Police stated that incidents involving ‘drink spiking’ were rare and that the huge majority of alleged incidents ended up being alcohol related. However, a set of circumstances meant that the samples were not tested until several days later.

This year in the United Kingdom, incidents of drink spiking has more than doubled in the last three years, according to figures from participating UK Police Forces, made public after a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. The results showed a 108% increase since 2015.

In total, there were 992 cases reported by forces who responded to the FOI request. Add that figure to the majority of people who did not report an incident and the problem appears to be growing fast.


The following is a list of the most commonly used ‘noxious liquids or substances’ used in ‘drink spiking’. It is not an exhaustive list but highlights those known to be used more frequently.

Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

The effects on a person are similar to Ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and comes in powder or liquid form. The effects take between 10 and 20 minutes. It is a dangerous on its own but more so when mixed with alcohol.

The effects include the inability to speak coherently, a lack of coordination, sleepiness over prolonged periods for days afterwards, amnesia, hallucinations and sometimes short term comas.

Ketamine (K, Ket)

This is a drug used by veterinary surgeons as an anaesthetic for larger animals like horses and cattle but is also used by people as an illicit substance. The effects of taking Ketamine (K, Ket) can create an out-of-body experience and comes in liquid or powder form. People also suffer from boredom, nausea, confusion, amnesia and visual problems. It takes between five and twenty minutes to work.

Rohypnol (Roofies)

This is found, most often in pill form. It is a depressant similar to Valium but more potent. Effects include slurred speech, lack of concentration, poor coordination, dizziness, lack of inhibition, nausea and amnesia. It takes between fifteen and thirty minutes to take effect.


Some people might be wondering why alcohol has been included? However, if administering alcohol to another person’s drink was done with intent to incapacitate them (even if done as a joke), this is also known as ‘spiking’ a drink. The person imbibing, may believe that they are either drinking a soft drink or a single shot of alcohol. Any alcohol added to a drink without the owner’s knowledge or permission could be seen as ‘administering a noxious thing’ and the person administering it could be liable to prosecution.

List of Additional Drugs used in Spiking can include:

Benzodiazepines; Cocaine; Midazolam; Ethanol; Tamazepam; Hypnotics; Ecstasy; Burunganda; LSD; Methamphetamine; Barbiturates; Valium and Alcohol.

Effects of the drugs vary dependent on a person’s age, sex, size and on what type of drug or alcoholic beverage was given, as well as how much you have already consumed. These drugs are often colourless and odourless.



  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers. However, if you do, make sure that you observe the bar person pour the drink and then watch it until it is in your hand. It is not advisable to allow a stranger to go to the bar, out of your sight line, and return with the drink when you have no knowledge of whether it has been tampered with or not. It only takes a second to drop something into the drink.
  • If you take a drink and start to feel unwell between five and twenty minutes afterwards and you know that it was either your first drink, or that you have not drank enough to feel the normal effects of alcohol, seek out a friend or someone you can trust to help you. Failing that, speak to the Manager, bar staff or door security personnel.
  • Do not leave you drinks unattended at any time. If you are at a table with friends and you have to leave to go to the bathroom, make sure that there is a trusted friend who remains at the table.
  • Do not accept an unsolicited drink from a stranger, who may just appear at your location with drink in hand. You do not know the drink’s provenance.
  • If you go to the bathroom and there is nobody that you trust to look after your glass; take the drink with you to the bathroom. Don’t let it out of your sight.
  • Do not mix alcohol knowingly with illicit drugs; it is not advisable to take any illicit drug with alcohol as the effects may change dramatically from those symptoms where either alcohol or drugs are taken in isolation.


The following information has been taken from the web page of the Jersey Action Against Rape (J.A.A.R.) with kind permission of the Charity management. 

If the worst happens, and you are sexually assaulted and/or raped, there is a Jersey Charity that offers advice and support to the victims of such an assault. Below, I have reproduced the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.




I have just been sexually assault; What do I do ?

  • Try to be somewhere that feels safe.
  • Keep warm and drink plenty of fluids (not alcohol).
  • If possible, see if a friend or someone you trust can be with you.
  • If you want to report the assault, contact the police, so they can arrange a forensic examination as soon as possible.
  • They will want to get as much evidence as possible, so don’t wash, eat or drink (alcohol).
  • If you think you would like to report the incident to the police, you can contact the police directly (999; 112 or 612612 if in Jersey) or phone the J.A.A.R. Helpline (01534-482800).
  • Have any injuries treated by your doctor or at a hospital.
  • If you change your clothes, put them in a bag and give them to the police.
  • Tell the police if you think you may have been drugged or your drink ‘spiked’. They will arrange for blood and urine tests.
  • You might not feel like reporting now, but you might in time. So, keep the clothes that you were wearing at the time of the assault, don’t wash them and put them in a plastic bag.
  • If you wash yourself, use safe products, not household cleaning products as they can be harmful.
  • If there is a possibility of pregnancy, you may want to take the morning after pill (up to 72 hours after), or have a coil fitted (up to 5 days after).
  • You can buy emergency contraception at a pharmacy.
  • Or you can go to your family planning clinic, genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic or GP.
  • If you are worried about sexually transmitted infections, you can have fully confidential advice and treatment from your nearest GUM clinic. You do not need a letter from your doctor. You don’t have to give the clinic your real name.

What is Rape ?

Rape is forcing another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse. This happens in many different situations. Here are definitions of the different types of rape.

Domestic rape

This is where the crime is committed in a relationship. They could be a family member, a partner or an ex-partner.

Date/Acquaintance rape

This is where the victim and offender are known to each other, they may be a friend or an acquaintance. It is possible that they are known to each other in a non-intimate capacity, through things like dating or meeting that night in a bar or club.

Stranger rape

This is where the attacker is unknown to the victim. These incidents are less common in Jersey.

Drug/Alcohol assisted rape

This is where alcohol or drugs are intentionally given to a victim for the purpose of committing rape or alternatively where they have consumed a sufficient quantity where their ability to consent is impaired.

If you are thinking of reporting an incident of this nature to Police please keep in mind that drugs only stay in the system for between six and 16 hours, so for officers to take this kind of evidence it needs to be done as soon as possible.

What is Consent ?

Consent is basically agreeing to do something – in this case having sex with another person. Quite simply, if you do not give your consent, it is rape.

The official police guidance defines consent as the person “agreeing by choice and having the freedom and capacity to make that choice”.

So if you make the decision based on fear, fraud or because of drug or alcohol intake, it is not true consent and will amount to rape.

Many people associate rape with a stranger attack in a dark alley. This is not the case. In Jersey 90% of sexual assaults happen when the victim and attacker are known to each other.

But no matter what the situation or relationship, sex without consent is rape.

What are the effects of rape and sexual assault ?

Sexual assault and rape are amongst the most devastating of human experiences. The terror, helplessness, humiliation and pain involved result in severe distress which can have an impact on every aspect of the victim’s life. The effects will vary from person to person because everyone reacts differently to trauma and crisis, and sometimes a person will not react in the way they themselves might have expected. However, certain common patterns emerge.

  1. Common Immediate effects –These may persist for several days or weeks:
  • Shock and withdrawal: the victim may be unable to speak about the experience. S/he may appear ‘frozen’.
  • Panic and confusion: the victim may be very distraught and may be very frightened and show signs of extreme fear.
  • A tendency to dwell on the details of the assault.
  • Recurrent and intrusive flashbacks of the assault, where for the individual it feels like a reliving of parts of the experience, with all of the feelings and reactions that were there at the time.
  • Sleeplessness and nightmares.
  • Hypervigilance: a person may be on the alert all the time and may be easily startled.
  • Calm and rational: some people respond to severe trauma by retreating from the feelings and becoming very reasoned and logical.
  • Denial: the person may minimise what has occurred and try to deal with it by behaving as nothing has happened.
  • Obsessive washing: the victim may feel dirty and tainted and wash over and over again.
  • Physical trauma: injuries such as bruising, cuts or soreness around the genital or anal area may have been inflicted. If the victim was beaten or physically assaulted, there may be other injuries. However, the absence of physical trauma is not an indication that a person has not been raped.

2.      Common Long term effects

  • Recurrent and intrusive recollections of the assault.
  • Self-blame and guilt: the person may agonise over what it was s/he did which provoked the attack, regardless of the fact that it was not his or her fault.
  • Fear: the person may feel unsafe, even in familiar places with people s/he knows.
  • Deep emotional pain: the person may experience strong feelings of anger, sadness etc.
  • Dramatic mood swings, particularly following exposure to events or places similar to the setting of the assault.
  • Difficulty in trusting, even those whom s/he knows and cares for, and difficulty in trusting and feeling safe in the company of the opposite sex.
  • Sexual difficulties: recollections of the assault may impinge on the person’s sexual relationship with his or her partner.
  • Impaired concentration and memory.
  • Difficulty in coping with normal routines.
  • Development of addictions (drink, drugs, food).

Is Healing possible ?

No matter how great the victims difficulty in coping with the assault, it does not mean that s/he has developed serious or permanent psychiatric or emotional problems. The victim of sexual violence can recover and reclaim his or her life.

Am I going mad ?

When someone has been raped or sexually abused they can experience nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories and high levels of fear and distress. Counselling helps people become aware that these feelings are a normal reaction to the abnormal events they have experienced.

Why do I need Counselling ?

All of us, both men and women, experience difficulties in our lives. Some experiences are too hard to deal with on your own. Maybe you can’t talk to family or friends, or there is a limit to the help they can give.

Our counsellors are trained to provide the confidential support necessary to help you heal from the hurt of rape and sexual abuse.

How does Counselling help ?

Counselling helps by providing a person the time and space, not always available in other parts of their lives, to explore their feelings in relation to their trauma. It is an enormous relief for someone to be able to talk, perhaps for the first time, about what happened and how it has affected their life. It is helpful over time, and without pressure or expectation to be able to open up to and express painful memories and feelings that may have been bottled up for a long time.

How long does Counselling take ?

The length of time counselling takes varies from person to person. Everyone is an individual and each person’s experience is unique, so the duration of their counseling cannot be predicted. It can vary from a few weeks up to a few months or longer. Most people feel some benefit even after a few sessions.

It is always the choice of the individual whether or not they wish to continue with the counselling process. There will always be time to discuss this with their counsellor.

Is Counselling Free ?


Once again, the Helpline for the J.A.A.R. (Jersey Action Against Rape) is

01534 – 482 – 800




Self Defence and the Law


I have often been asked, over the last thirty six years, how far a person can go when trying to defend themselves from attack. The Law can be a minefield of contradictions, and I am only referring to the Law both in the United Kingdom and in my home island of Jersey. I think that my ‘guest blogger’, Don Roley, has been able to explain his views and the Laws from across ‘The Pond’ in the USA, and, I am sure that he would be more than happy to expand on the laws of self defense (American spelling) in future articles, including the use of firearms, which cannot be openly carried in Britain unless you are a Police firearms officer or military personnel on deployment.

The following definition of ‘self defence’ in Britain was taken from the website of the UK Crown Prosecution Service. Under Section 3 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 it states that,

”A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or persons unlfully at large.”

UK Crown Prosecution Service

While this is a very formal definition of what constitutes the law on self defence and appears to be angled towards what law enforcement officers and other legal entities can do, it also outlines the self defence laws for members of the public.

Under UK law, there is no specific definition of ‘reasonable force’, only guidelines but, if you can fully justify your use of force in a Court of Law you are unlikely to be convicted of an offence.

As well as Section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967, there is also the common law definition, which operates in three spheres;

(A) To defend oneself from attack,

(B) To prevent an attack on another person,

eg. R v Rose (1884), 15 Cox 540, where the defendant , who had shot dead his father, whilst the latter was launching a murderous attack on the defendent’s mother, was acquitted of murder on the grounds of self defence.

(C) To defend your property


In 2013, the former Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced the toughened up law on ‘householder defence’. This allowed for disproportionate force to be used such cases if the householder was unable to make ‘fine’ judgements in the heat of the moment so long as their actions could be deemed to be necessary. In two cases this has been used successfully.

In December 2013 Denby Collins was restrained by a house resident in Gillingham, Kent, until the police arrived, Collins having broken into the premises. The police arrived, handcuffed the accused and then found him to have become unresponsive. He was transferred to hospital, then to a neurological unit where he Stayed in a coma. Nine months later, the Department of Public Prosecutions decided not to pursue any action against the householders and, in a separate Independant Police Complaints procedure, no officers  were found guilty of any misconduct. The family of  Collins, appealed to the High Court but the appeal was rejected (Appeal panel chaired by Lord Leveson).

The Guardian newspaper covered the appeal in an article on Friday 15th January 2016 and quoted Lord Leveson as stating that with regards to the ‘householder defence’, the circumstances were found to be compatible with the European human rights legislation in that, a householder can use a disproportionate level of force against an intruder in their homes if the reasonably believe it to be necessary.

Collins v R – High Court appeal   –

This is eerily similar to another case in April this year when a burglar suffered fatal knife injuries after breaking into a pensioners home in Hither Green, South East London, collapsing outside the property. The intruder, 37 year old Henry Vincent, already wanted by Police for breaking into another pensioner’s home, died at the scene. 

The householder, 78 year old Richard Osborn-Brooks, was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but, after the circumstances were investigated, was released without charge. This led to sustained harassment from Vincent’s family and Traveller Community that necessitated Mr. Osborn-Brooks being moved to a safe house to avoid reprisals. 

Intruder Killed in Pensioner’s Home was Wanted over Another Burglary

(Left – Richard Osborn-Brooks;    Right – Henry Vincent)

One element that must be adhered to is that one cannot use ‘excessive force’. If a defendant used excessive force, this may indicate that they could have acted unreasonably in the circumstances. Therefore, there would be no valid defence in either Common Law or under the Criminal Law Act. Sometimes, in self defence classes I use the example of a person, who has successfully defended themselves by use of a ‘reasonable force’ defence technique, escalating that violence by continuing to kick the assailant on the ground several times, despite the attack having already been subdued. The multiple kicks, while the original attacker lies motionless, will, in all likelihood, be seen as the use of ‘excessive force’ and you could be facing charges of assault.

The Police definition of assault is (Ashford Police Training College, 1982),

An attempt, threat or offer, by some physical act, to inflict unlawful force upon another, with the apparent ability to carry it out.”


The pre-emptive strike has been used in physical altercations for millennia as it was seen to be a tactic to end a physical threat quickly and cleanly, however, the pre-emptive strike can be either an assault (see definition above) that cannot be argued as a self defence technique or as a major component part of a successful pleading for self defence used reasonably in the circumstances.

Lord Griffiths, of Her Majesty’s Appeal Courts, as head of the panel for the appeal against conviction (in Jamaica) of a Police Officer sentenced to death for murder of a suspect, used the defence of ‘pre-emptive strike’ to allow the appeal and subsequently have the Queen quash the conviction. This case, Beckford v R (1988) is regularly used in Court when a defendant is using ‘pre-emptive strike’ as a defence in Law.

BARON GRIFFITHS OF GOVILON QC In the County of Gwent (Rt Hon Sir William Hugh Griffiths) Life Peer A Lord of Appeal in Ordinary In robes for his Introduction in the House of Lords COMPULSORY CREDIT: UPPA/Photoshot Photo CGL 195485 06.06.1985

(Lord Griffiths of the Appeal Court whose ruling, in 1988, is used frequently when defending the use of a pre-emptive strike)

Lord Griffiths summarised that,

”A person, about to be attacked, does not have to wait for his assailant to strike the first blow or fire the first shot; circumstances may justify a pre-emptive strike”.

Importantly, the force used not only had to be reasonable in the circumstances but it could include “an honestly held belief that those circumstances were present while acting in their own defence or the defence of another”, even if the actual circumstances were found to be different at the investigative stage and subsequent prosecution. Mistaken self defence is still effective to negate the ‘men’s rea’ of a crime provided it was an honest and reasonable mistake.

Before the granting of Beckford’s appeal, Lord Griffiths stated,

”A man who is attacked in circumstances where he reasonably believes his life to be in danger or that he is in danger of serious bodily injury, may use such force as, on reasonable grounds, he thinks necessary in order to resist the attack and if using such force, he kills his assailant, he is not guilty of any crime, even if the killing is intentional.”



There are a myriad of martial arts clubs all over the world who teach the most popular (of the moment) and the more obscure martial styles from all over the globe from the usual countries, such as Japan, China, Russia, Korea, USA and the Philippines (to name but a few) alongside those lesser known arts from countries and cultures such as Mongolia, Native America, Scandinavia, India etc.

More recently, newer hybrids have emerged and become popular in the age of wall-to-wall media coverage and sponsors, such as MMA (mixed martial arts), BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), Systema (Russia) and Krav Maga (Israeli). In fact, mixed martial arts has rapidly become a global phenomenon, covered extensively on both social media and mainstream international sports channels. Martial arts used to be something tucked away and secretive but that ceiling has been well and truly destroyed and some of the professional fighters have as high  a profile as many professional boxers and major global sports stars. All over the world there are millions of martial artists taking part in their chosen sport and/or art, from the beginner to the most experienced and talented martial artists out there. The motivation to train can come from anywhere; 

Self development, fitness, a sense of belonging, sporting prowess, striving to be the best that they can, cultural, combatting bullying, self defence; any number of reasons or combinations.

Self preservation ie. Survival, is the human being’s strongest instinct. It is often the  wish to learn ‘self defence’ that draws people to the martial arts and other pugilistic forms (I place boxing into the category of martial arts). 


In my opinion, everyone should try a martial art at least once. Contrary to the consensus view that martial arts teach you violence and fighting, what they actually teach you is far greater than any other educational tool; skills, posture, confidence, togetherness, rules, brain development, fitness, camaraderie, a sense of belonging, relaxation, breathing, muscle memory, body language recognition; the list is endless. Oh! And ‘self defence’. In relation to ‘violence and fighting’; they in fact teach you to recognise the signs of violence and violent people and situations and then tutor you on being able to assess that situation and make the best decision, for you, with which to avoid that violence, and, as guest blogger Don Roley said, TO GET HOME SAFELY.

I have been teaching the Japanese martial art of Aikido for exactly thirty-one years, but also specialise in control and restraint for Law Enforcement and self protection and awareness for women and vulnerable adults (including the differently abled) I am a former police officer and current door woman at pubs, clubs and festivals. I have been around real- life violence for over over thirty eight years and I can say this:


Over the last three decades, I have seen numerous martial arts clubs (all styles) advertising and running ‘Women’s Self Defence Classes or Courses’. While I applaud their endeavour to offer classes to equip women with tools with which to use in an attack scenario, that they may not have possessed before, there have been some unrealistic ‘promises’ about what a person will be able to achieve if attacked.

Some that I have seems over the years include;

“In 6 / 8 / 10 weeks of training you will be able to defend yourself.”

Nobody should guarantee anything of the sort. While they may give you tools and useful techniques, nobody should say that you WILL be able to protect yourself. There are many other variables to consider and nobody is invincible; the main one is being able to control the surge of adrenaline when you feel fear.

”Handle any attack and never be afraid again by doing our self defence course.”

Feeling fear is actually an essential part of preparing the human body for fight or flight. You have to feel fear to release the hormone ‘adrenaline’ in these circumstances.

”Learn from an experienced self defence instructor.”

While you may be learning techniques from a highly experienced martal arts instructor, that does not necessarily mean that they are also a ‘self defence’ instructor. Many martial arts instructors have not actually been in real situations involving extreme violence. Thus, they may be working to a belief or third party anecdotes and not reality. This you see many times from random videos published in such media platforms as You Tube and Vimeo. Many of the techniques shown are flowery, non realistic, and lacking in any understanding of the psychology of violence. This sets a dangerous precedent as people watch these clips and believe what they see. It might help you but equally it COULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SERIOUS INJURY OR WORSE. Over confidence can be as destructive as lacking in it.

Finally, more important than the physical techniques taught in a self defence setting, are the lessons about awareness of your surroundings and common sense approaches to everyday situations, from a simple shopping trip to a night out on the town. Trying to avoid potential problems before they happen will keep you out of trouble most of the time. And, as my guest blogger Don Roley said, “self defence is about getting home safely.”

I am always available for advice on personal safety and self defence and can be contacted in a number of ways.

  • By email to
  • On Facebook on the FB page for the URBAN WARRIOR PRINCESS
  • Through my personal Facebook page at Roisin Xena Pitman



Roisin has been a martial arts instructor for over 30 years, holding a 6th Dan in Aikido and 4th Dan in Mushin-Do. She specialises in self defence for women and vulnerable adults and gives seminars, courses and talks on all aspects of self defence.

Roisin holds Nationally accredited Level 3 Teaching qualifications in:

Education & Training, Conflict Management, Self Defence, Physical Intervention in the Security Industry, Control & Restraint and Handcuffing / mechanical restraints. She also teaches the Level 2 Door Security Supervisor course.

She is a retired Police Officer and currently works in security on the Doors of pubs, clubs and at festivals.

Self Defence blog from Guest Blogger (USA) Don Roley

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you my ‘guest blogger’. I have been following Don Roley’s posts for some time now and he always speaks a lot of common sense on the subject of martial arts and practical everyday self defence.

A full biography about Don can be found at the bottom of his blog post and I thank him for giving me the permission to reproduce his words on my site.



Friday September 7, 2018

Among the forgotten lore of self defense there is a little secret. Self defense isn’t about beating the other person to a pulp. It is about getting home safe.

We are mammals, descending from pack animals. Look at a band of gorillas and you will find one that has fought all the beta males and now is the only one to pass on his genes to the next generation. Even mammals further from us like deer fight other males for the right to breed.

In these fights, the would- be alpha male has to defeat his challengers. Most mammals have it easy. The rules are simple, you defeat members of your own species and either kill or run away from other species. The lion doesn’t kill other lions and the deer runs as soon as it spots a predator. But we humans might find another human coming at us with a knife in his hand and murder in his eyes. Or it might be a school yard fight to see who is going to be the big man on campus. Treating one like the other can be deadly.

Much of what is touted as self defense training now seems to be complicated versions of the fight to become the alpha male of the tribe. That isn’t self defense. The name coined for it is social violence. It is what young boys do in the schoolyard. There are unspoken rules against things like using weapons or doing things that will leave permanent damage. It isn’t self defense, it is a dick- measuring contest. Break the unspoken rules and your social situation becomes much worse than if you merely lost.

As I said, this isn’t self defense. When the crazy ex-boyfriend of your lover tries to corner you with a knife, that is self defense. When he confronts you at a party and you stand there and trade insults with him, any fight that happens after that is merely two idiots trying to impress the crowd with their manliness.

Self defense is about getting home safe. That means in the party scenario that as soon as you see that things could get violent, you get the hell out of there.

Mind you, you will be fighting a million year breeding program telling you that if you don’t stand there and defeat your rival, you will never get a chance to pass on your genes.

If you get into a violent encounter, defeating the enemy isn’t your prime goal if you are really talking about self defense. Unless you are a police officer or security guard, the need to wrap your opponent up and choke him out is a very distant second to getting the hell out of there. And yet many styles heavily dependent on competition train their students to think only of defeating the other person.

I had two female students in my class last night. Together they weigh just about the same as me. And I am not a huge guy. If a 320 pound kidnapper tried to pull them into a van, maybe their skills would be good enough to defeat him, especially if they use surprise, strategy and trickery. But their best bet is to fight only long enough to trip him so they can turn and run as fast as they can, screaming all the way.

And yet, people are being trained in that case to follow up with the other person falling to do a ground and pound. That isn’t just not self defense, it isn’t smart as well.

Yes sometimes you do have to stand your ground. When the vengeful ex-lover breaks into a woman’s house and starts moving towards the rooms of children he vowed to kill to hurt her, a woman will stand her ground. The thing is, she will probably die happily in that case if she can take the would- be murderer with her before he can reach her kids.

When you talk about a ‘self defense’ scenario with some people and ask why you don’t just walk away before trouble starts or run as soon as it does, it is amazing to find out how many people are always accompanied by dozens of crippled relatives who can’t move faster than a shuffle. Really? It astounds me that most of the people claiming to do self defense seem to spend more time talking themselves out of walking away than from getting into a fight.

This came up recently when a discussion of whether taking a person to the ground who has a knife is the best way to deal with the situation. For the record, going to the ground when the other person has a knife is a very bad idea. Take someone that knows even a little about how to use a knife, give him a marker and try it out yourself sometime to prove this to yourself. Every mark on you has a good chance of killing you if it was a blade, or at least crippling you.

When this was pointed out, the other side responded with the argument, “Well, how can you really hope to defeat such an overwhelming advantage as a knife? At least you have your best chance of immobilizing him if you use BJJ.”

See the trap they let their mindset fall into? Do you sometimes have to injure or kill someone with a knife to make it home alive? Possibly. But if you really are interested in surviving a knife attack, the odds are much better if you do something like jump back and around until you can grab a chair or something to toss at the guy long enough to gain some real distance and then run faster than an olympic sprinter. You don’t defeat them, but you survive. Surviving is what you should be thinking about first in a knife attack, not how to defeat them. And the scary thing is, some criminals are training themselves to pull a knife in the middle of a fight or when you won’t notice. You think you are in a fist fight, but end up stabbed to death. With this reality, shouldn’t we start to look at any fight we walk into as being a possible knife attack rather than just a way for two beta males to figure out who the alpha will be?

Spotting trouble is better than walking away from it. Walking away is better than talking your way out of violence. Talking your way out of violence is better than fighting. Where is any of this in most of what is called “self defense” training? What I mainly see is people that require 120 pound women to go toe to toe with an attacker until one of them is incapacitated. Anything else is only given lip service.

Getting away from danger, as opposed to beating the enemy, starts long before the first blow is thrown. If you are in a fight and get a chance to run, then you should take it if you can. But when someone at a bar starts giving you the hairy eyeball, why stick around? Are you afraid you won’t be able to pass along your genes that night in some way? If you don’t finish your drink and leave, you increase your chances of maybe ending up in the ER with a knife wound or worse. If they insult you and you insult them back, anything from that point on is a mutual dance and not self defense. For self defense you would have to take the insult and walk away. If they try to chase you down at that point and force a fight on you then you can say you were defending yourself. If the fight isn’t forced on you, but you stood there until he threw a blow, that is just two guys trying to figure out who is the alpha male at best. At worst, it could be a criminal trying to set you up to be knifed.

And yet, look at the people attracted to many types of arts that claim to teach self defense. They are the spitting image of the term, “Young, dumb and full of cum.” They want to prove themselves, show the world they are the alpha male. And they aren’t being told nor trained to get out of there when they can. They are being conditioned to always dominate the other and prove their manhood. They don’t go through training where at the end they have to get away. Instead they are frequently in competitions to defeat the other person, or it is a loss.

Running away isn’t losing in self defense. Beating the other guy up isn’t winning very often. Talk with some of my friends that are violence professionals and they will point out the scars and parts of their bodies that no longer work 100 percent to realize what real violence can cost even when you are the last person standing.

You can’t just give lip service to avoiding danger, walking away or running. It has to be constantly emphasized and trained at. Students have to go through scenario training where they walk across the street to avoid someone giving them menacing looks. They have to have sparring where the goal is to get away and not put the other guy in a unbreakable hold. They have to learn techniques that are useless in competition because they only let them survive and not defeat the opponent.

For too long, people have talked about self defense when they really are training to become an alpha male. It is getting to the point where that mindset dominates anything involving martial arts. It is time to step back and look at the situation and put the emphasis back into getting home safe over defeating another person.


Don Roley Bio

Don Roley is the head of the Colorado Springs Bujinkan Dojo (USA) and previously lived for 15 years in Japan learning many arts, mainly the art of ninjutsu. Unlike the image presented by the unknowing and frauds, the combat portion of ninjutsu is commonly called Tonsogate, which translates into “escape art”. Instead of trying to defeat guards when discovered, the ninja had to escape as fast as possible before the screams of those that discovered him brought dozens of reinforcements down on him. There are no holds in Togakure-ryu Tonsogata, just ways of breaking holds, tripping and discouraging pursuit. This has been the core to Don Roley’s view on self defense as he teaches now. He has two kids that he is very proud of and will stand and die to defend, and mourns his wife who gave his life meaning. He will rarely turn down a beer if offered one.

Don’s blog can be found at

Colorado Springs Ninjutsu

Ladies; Could what you are carrying in your handbags get you into trouble?


Social media has been bombarded with ‘sponsored’ adverts from companies all over the world, offering items that may, at first thought, be an ideal purchase or present For you or someone else in your life. These include ‘kitty style knuckle dusters (see picture above), mini kubotan key chains, folding knives that retract into an innocent looking key ring etc. A generic police definition of what constitutes an offensive weapon is,

”Any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him, or by some other person.”

Possession of an offensive weapon is still illegal in Britain regardless of whether clever marketing states that it is a key ring or not. Weapons such as knuckle dusters, kubotans (Japanese short metal baton held in the hand, using both ends to apply a strike) and the like are MADE for causing injury. The sellers of these items will promote them as a keychain first and foremost but they are still illegal to possess in public.


(One of the many styles of ‘Kubotan’ on the market being advertised as a keychain, but, if used properly, can cause serious injury to the person).

Let us get back to the typical handbag.

On a night out or a day at a festival, what do you carry, apart from cash, credit cards and mobile phone?

Often now, at Jersey festivals, where search upon entry procedures are carried out, your ticket sets out the terms and conditions of entry. This will include the obvious as in no alcohol, no drugs, no offensive weapons etc. It may also stop people bringing in their own furniture (folding chairs, benches etc.). More and more now it also states that you cannot bring in perfume bottles and aerosols ie deodorant in spray form. While under normal circumstances, deodorants and perfumes are used in the conventional sense, these items could also be used as weapons (ANY ARTICLE ‘INTENDED’ FOR USE AS AN OFFENSIVE WEAPON) either by spraying them in people’s faces or by using a lighter with either to create a mini flame-thrower. At the last festival that I worked on, we could have filled a perfumery with the amount of bottles that we had to relieve people of, despite the terms and conditions being quite clearly set out.

There are also times that people have returned to Jersey on the boat from France having quite innocently purchased Mace** or a similar spray for use as a self defence deterrent. Unfortunately, this type of spray is illegal to possess in Jersey (and the rest of Great Britain) as well as being illegal to import.

Mace (Chemical Mace) was the first of its type to be produced but there are now many derivatives available on the market through internet sellers. Check your country’s laws on possession before committing to buying these products online.

**Mace is the genericised trademark of Chemical Mace, the brand name of an early type of aerosol self-defence spray invented by Allan Lee Litman in 1965. The first commercial product of its type, Litman’s design packaged phenacyl chloride (CN) tear gas dissolved in hydrocarbon solvents into a small aerosol spray can, usable in almost any environment and strong enough (when sprayed in the face) to act as a credible deterrent and incapacitant. Its popularity led to the brand name being shortened to simply “Mace” for all defense sprays (regardless of the composition). 

(taken from the Wikipedia webpage on MACE)


Let us look at the three designations that form the basis of the offensive weapons Law.

On a website for a legal firm Lawton’s Law ( they set it our as follows:

What is classified as an offensive weapon in UK law?

The law recognises three categories of offensive weapon:

Those where objects are MADE for use for causing injury to the person. These items are legally classified as ‘offensive weapons per se’ and include flick knives, kitchen knives**, butterfly knives, pepper sprays, knuckle dusters, Kubotans (ed.) and nunchaku (rice flails as used in the Bruce Lee film ‘Enter the Dragon – ed.)

Those where objects are ADAPTED for such a purpose, i.e. to cause injury to a person. This includes items that would otherwise be incapable of causing injury but have been changed so that they now can, for example a sock containing a snooker ball, a sharpened stick or a sharpened snooker cue, a baseball bat with nails added or a water pistol filled with acid.

Those where objects are not so made or adapted but carried with the INTENTION of causing injury to the person, for example a cup of bleach carried with the intent of throwing it into someone’s face to cause injury, sharpened nail scissors or a baseball bat.


(The late actor, Bruce Lee, in a scene from ‘Enter the Dragon’, using nunchaku also commonly known as rice flails, as they were originally used in rice farming)

Most items in your handbag are innocuous and are essential to one’s personal carry every day. If you are unsure whether an item that you wish to purchase could be classified as an offensive weapon and that by being in possession of it, you may fall foul of the law, contact your local police station and ask.

Or simply contact me, the Urban Warrior Princess, at and I can advise you.

Security at Private After Prom Parties


Over the last couple of decades another American institution, the School Prom, has made it across the ‘pond’ to Britain. In Jersey each year, educational establishments ditched the old style school ‘disco’, for glitzy affairs in hotels and party venues. It is to be noted that some schools do still use their own halls that they transform into the prom venue.

Every year the parents of teenagers worry about financing,what has become, a huge money spinner for venues, vehicle hire, clothes shops, hair dressers, nail technicians and spray tan companies. Although, for the boys, the clothing has fairly narrow parameters, for the girls; the sky is the limit. Once their parents have bought the ‘dream dress’, not forgetting matching shoes and clutch bag, many students will opt for expensive hair styles, spray tans, nail art and their mode of transport. Some families will club together on transport ie vintage coach or vehicles that can carry more than one set of prom students, but for some, the aspirations can be much higher such as a high performance super car, military tank and troop transporters etc.; some have been known, in the UK, to have arrived by helicopter.

When the students arrive, they are often met by crowds of pupils, teachers and interested bystanders, especially if in a town central location. These prom pictures then adorne the local media for weeks after and every attendee is treated like a red carpet star.

It is not, however, the prom itself that can cause the problems. Over the years, an event that can be as important, for many of the prom goers, is the ‘AFTER PARTY”. Often held on private premises, these smaller peer groups carry on partying well into the night after they have finished the school run event. Some companies offer security coverage for such after parties, however, there is a heavy demarcation line between the official duties of a qualified door security supervisor, operating on licensed premises under the current Licensing (Jersey) Law 1974, and a ‘Security Operative’ engaged on private unlicensed premises.


On private premises that may have alcohol on them, but do not operate under the Licensing Law, the qualified and badged security operatives have absolutely no jurisdiction. In fact, in my opinion, one should not be wearing a door security badge or SIA (Security Industry Authority) badge (in the UK), while undertaking a private premises security assignment, as this falls outside the terms of reference of one’s licence under the Police run scheme.** In fact, a parent or guardian could actually ask anybody to act as a security operative (ie friend, colleague, relative etc.) as they would have as much power, or actually lack of power, than a ‘badged’ operative in these circumstances.

**Under the Terms & Conditions of the Jersey Door Registration Scheme (JDRS) it states, in the first article (1):

A Door Supervisor is:
“A person employed on licensed premises to regulate and supervise patrons on those premises and to assist the Licensee, his servants or agents, in the maintenance of good order, ensuring public safety and security.”

(Excerpt taken from the official website of the States of Jersey Police)

There is no CIVIL TRESPASS law in Jersey, which means security personnel have no power to eject anyone, even if the householder has ‘given’ them ‘authority’. The authority is meaningless under the Licensing Law. It is to be noted that parents often seek out qualified door staff for peace of mind, in that the people employed are trained personnel, however that doesn’t change the fact that, in these circumstances, they have no ‘legal’ teeth.

There have been known to be after parties that have been left in the hands of ‘appointed adults’ where the parents have gone out for the night and stayed over in a hotel to give their teenage children and their peers some space. Some gatherings (not specifically prom after parties), where teenagers were left to party without adults in attendance (parents or other adults), have resulted in tragic circumstances, caused by consumption of alcohol or illicit substances. So there is an appetite for some adult attendance in or around the venue of a private party but there is very little that a registered security supervisor can do in a legal sense without delving into a minefield of potential problems, such as:

Children under the age of eighteen drinking intoxicating liquor on private premises

There is no law that prevents children under the age of eighteen consuming alcohol within the boundaries of a private premises. Therefore, as a security operative at a teen event on private premises, you have no legal jurisdiction and cannot remove alcohol from any child, nor can you eject anyone or, most importantly, lay your hands on anybody (unless in self defence or the defence of another). You cannot control their behaviour or anything else that they might get up to. In effect; you are impotent as a security guard.

Party goers consuming and/or dealing in illicit substances

There have been occasions when children under eighteen years of age have taken illegal drugs at private house parties. Most parties on private premises do not have ‘security’ but, think of the position this puts anyone working as such at one of these private parties. Some of these gatherings have had tragic outcomes such as the case in the death of Victoria College student Morgan Huelin.


What would you do if you came across a child at a private party, while operating as a private security supervisor, who was in possession of what you suspected to be illegal drugs? You are not a police officer. You have no authority under the JDRS. You literally have nothing. You cannot lay your hands on them or force them to hand the substance over, or even physically eject them. However; what about if you did take possession of an illegal substance at one of these parties? They may have been willing to hand them over. You are now in possession of an illegal substance under the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978, unless you can show that you were on your way immediately to the Police to hand it over and to explain to them how you came by the drugs or, you may decide to go to the bathroom and flush them down the toilet. 

Under Article 8(1) of the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978, which covers ‘Restrictions on possession of controlled drugs’ it states:

Subject to the provisions of any Order for the time being in force under Article 12, it is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in his or her possession.

What would happen, do you suspect, if you had taken some illegal drugs off a child, put them in your pocket for safe keeping, then went home after your shift while forgetting all about them being in your possession?

I suspect that you would have some explaining to do if stopped by law enforcement, at a later date, and the drugs were found in your possession. Forgetting about them is not an option.

Gate Crashers

As has been documented many times on social media and in the mainstream press over the last twenty years, especially in the UK, private parties are often ‘advertised’ on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. by teenagers who start by inviting their friends, but then, friends invite their friends and before you know it, a small house party turns into a full on ‘rave’ with people turning up from all over the county and beyond. These people force their way into the premises and often trash the house. On many occasions, the parents or owners of the house are out of town.

Party goers who become drunk or violent

As previously stated, if party goers become drunk and/or violent, a private security supervisor would only be able to physically intervene or restrain someone if it was proved that their actions were necessary for their own self defence or for the protection of others. It would also be doubtful if any personal liability insurance, whether personal or corporate, would cover you operating at private dwellings.

Party goers who leave the premises with alcohol (glasses, bottles etc)

Party goers will often wander off the private premises with alcohol in hand. You have no legal powers to remove that alcohol from anyone. This action only applies to door staff when they are working on a licensed premises as a badged operative and are preventing customers from leaving said licensed premises with alcohol, served in open containers, meant for consumption on the premises. Some public houses can serve as an off licence in Jersey, if they hold a 6th Category licence under the law, along with their 1st Category Taverners licence, selling unopened bottles of alcohol to patrons for consumption ‘off’ the premises. 

Filming of party goers on bordyworn security cameras (especially those under eighteen)

Alcohol / drugs / teenagers / security staff; not a good combination. For those working in this environment, one might consider, as many do on licensed premises, to wear and operate a body-worn camera. This may on the surface be a good decision, especially if you are to protect yourself against possible accusations of improper behaviour made by a young party goer. However, cameras and children under age are rarely a good mix, especially in a private setting.

Laying your hands on another person (unless for self defence purposes or in defence of another)

You are leaving yourself open to complaints of assault if you felt the need, at a private party, while working as a security operative, to lay your hands on another person. You have a defence, however it is no different to the general defence used by members of the public, door security supervisors acting within the Licensing Law and police officers, which is that you are only allowed to use as much force as is necessary and proportionate in the circumstances; the Law of Self Defence. You also, of course, have a right to defend your person under the Human Rights Law ie. The right to life.

Although definitions within the police service have changed over the years, I still prefer my 1982 definition of an assault (from Ashford Police Training College in Kent), which is:

An attempt, threat or offer, by some physical act, to inflict unlawful force upon another, with the apparent ability to carry it out.



I am not here to tell people what jobs they should take and people will continue wanting ‘security’ at their private premises parties, and there will still be door security willing to take these assignments. My words of caution are when you mix prom age after party children (under eighteen years of age), birthday parties etc. with alcohol and possible illicit substances, it is not a good mix. While 99.9% of these events may go off without incident, it will be that 0.1% that could be your downfall and may lead to your loss of liberty.

The most important tool in a security operative’s arsenal is communication, both verbal and non-verbal (body language – reading and use of). Conflict management may be a buzzword among trainers but, it is worthy of greater study by people working in all customer facing roles and that includes door security supervisors. Much can be achieved by correct use of verbal and non-verbal communication when engaging with others and, in most circumstances, should prevent you having to introduce physical intervention or control and restraint as your tools of choice.

As a character in former Police drama series, Hill Street Blues, Sergeant Phil Esterhaus (actor Michael Conrad) used to say to his officers before they went out on duty:    















Are people like The Loop the way forward in the war on drugs


As mentioned in the previous article, the war on drugs has been being waged for nearly one hundred years, and the news media is still churning out disturbing story after story of drug crimes, gun and knife murders due to the drug gangs and their associates and misery encircling the globe for those addicted to these substances, which includes the families caught up in the whole drug culture, whether directly or as ‘collateral damage’ when a loved one dies from either from an overdose or by falling foul to their dealers or someone higher up the food chain.

I worked as a drug squad officer in the early 90s but in recent times the whole drugs culture and the violence and death surrounding it appears to have increased aggressively. A small ‘slight’ towards the ‘wrong’ face from a particular drugs gang in the United Kingdom at the moment, will most likely get you stabbed or shot and these gangs can get an ‘assassin’ from anywhere to do the job at a very cheap price. The movies might portray professional hitmen (and hitwomen; let us not be sexist) as being a ‘hit for hire’, paying thousands but, in reality, someone will happily do the job these days for a supply of drugs or for less than the price of a good meal at a restaurant. Even the gun is most likely loaned out for a price, just like renting a movie DVD; being returned to the hirer after the hit before the weapon resurfaces in another part of the country. It really is turning into a WAR.

Governments have to pull there heads out of the collective sand and deal with this problem in a different way as, up until now, the standard ways are failing and more people are dying than ever before. You will never eradicate illegal drug activity; sadly that is part of the fabric of world society today. However, out of despair, some countries have started to get creative and look at different ways to tackle the War on Drugs. In the United Kingdom in 2013 a new charity was set up, called THE LOOP ( In their ‘About Us’ page they quote,

“The Loop is a not for profit Community Interest Company established in 2013 which provides drug safety testing, welfare and harm reduction services at nightclubs, festivals and other leisure events. 

We also provide staff training on drugs awareness, in-house welfare service delivery, the prevention of drug related harm at events, and the delivery of ethical ‘front of house’ drug safety testing services.”

They further state:

“The Loop, a not for profit NGO, introduced forensic drug testing for public safety at nightclubs in autumn 2013 (at the Warehouse Project) and at festivals in summer 2014 (at Parklife). This testing has been characterized as ‘halfway house’ testing because it involves testing substances of concern obtained from on-site services including (primarily) police and security seizures on the door and inside the venue; amnesty bin contents; and also to a lesser extent substances given to the testers by medical, welfare and cleaning services on site. Results are disseminated to emergency services and staff on site and, where appropriate, to the wider public via on-site signage and social media. On site testing is carried out by a team of experienced volunteer chemists through The Loop and under the guidance of Fiona Measham, Director of The Loop and Professor of Criminology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University.”

(taken from the website of The Loop,

The Loop, in 2016, approached various music festival organisers in the UK and Police Forces in those areas to put their ‘legal testing of illegal substances’ initiative forward to them. The Loop would set up a non judgmental drug testing facility on a music festival site and offer to test a small sliver of festival goers substances without fear of arrest, so that they could analyse it, determine the strength of the drug and identify the component parts. The festival goer would then return for the results and after a brief counseling session, could then make an informed choice as to whether they consume that drug or dispose of it.


(Above is a generic picture of security searching festival goers’ bags at a Festival. This picture is NOT associated with The Loop charity)

The Loop are now regularly seen at UK festivals.

One of The Loop’s training offerings is a certificated one day course for those working or associated with the ‘Night Time Economy’, which include public houses, nightclubs, festivals and other licensed venues. Their website sets out the course content (below) and what can be achieved:

Responding to Drug Use in the Night Time Economy

Badge of Excellence Course

This one day training programme is aimed at people who work in bars, nightclubs and festivals who come into contact with people who use drugs recreationally. It will cover basic drug awareness including the risks of drug use, legal issues and identifying and responding to drug related issues in the Night Time Economy (NTE)

The course has been developed in conjunction with The Specialist Services Network Occupational Development and Training Team at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and has been awarded a Badge of Excellence by Open Awards in recognition of the high standard of course content and delivery methods.


The aim of the course is to support participants to ensure the safety of their customers attending their events in relation to drug related harm

The Learning Outcomes are for participants to be able to:

  • Understand what is meant by the term “recreational drug use” and why people use these drugs.
  • Understand the effects and risks of recreational drugs commonly used in NTE venues.
  • Examine the scope of current legislation relating to drugs commonly used in the NTE.
  • Identify drug related problems faced by staff organising and working in NTE venues.
  • Identify a range of appropriate harm reduction responses to drug related problems in the NTE.

Anyone who completes this one day course will receive a Badge of Excellence certificate of completion from Open Awards.

The Loop’s Trainers

The Loop’s trainers have a wide range of training experience. They hold relevant training qualifications and have front line understanding and experience in relation to drugs awareness and welfare provision.

For further information on any of the above courses, or to have a discussion on bespoke courses, prices and availability please contact us below.

(Taken from the website of The Loop,


Jersey are delighted to announce that two trainers from The Loop (includes Head of Training Eddie Scoullar), are coming to take the above course, ‘Responding to Drug Use in the Night Time Economy’, on Friday 17th August. It is hoped to include interested parties from local government, security, police, youth service, health services etc.

If people In Jersey are interested in attending (cost £99 per head), please contact me as soon as possible at

Course Details:

Friday 17th August 2018; at the Embassy Club, 28 Halkett Place, St. Helier. 9am start (prompt) until 4pm.   Cost: £99 per head. Only 20 places left.


(A room at the Embassy Club Jersey, 28 Halkett Place, St. Helier)






The ‘War Against Drugs’


As a former police officer in Jersey, and, for several years, a member of the Drugs Squad, I was employed to assist in the detection of crime related to the use, dealing and financing of the illegal drugs trade.

At the beginning of the nineties there were a number of drugs already in use or finding their way onto the streets of our small but affluent island. These included Cannabis resin; Herbal Cannabis (and to a lesser extent, cannabis oil); LSD (Lysergic acid diethyl-amide), an hallucinogenic drug mainly found in paper form (absorbent paper that had been dipped in the drug), decorated with enticing and often amusing pictures and logos (one popular range had a caricature of Saddam Hussein at the time of Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War); Speed (amphetamine); Magic Mushrooms (psilocybin – hallucinogenic)  and Ecstasy (MDMA – methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine), the ever popular dance craze (rave) drug. On a smaller scale there were regular seizures of cocaine and heroin.

Then, as now, the street user was entering a lottery whenever they went to purchase from the dealers, especially in respect of Ecstasy, LSD, Cocaine and Heroin. Manufacturers of the illegal drugs would always ‘cut’ the drugs (mix with the pure element of the drug) in an effort to make the actual drug stretch further and thus increasing their profits and those of their backers and importers. This left the user to play Russian roulette with their lives as they were unable to guarantee the strength of the drug that they were taking (more of that later).

Drugs, however, were not a new thing in the nineties; in fact they have been used for millennia, originally legally and more recently, with certain drugs (since the turn of the 20th century), illegally.



Psilocybin, or ‘magic mushrooms’ were believed to have been found depicted on murals from the African continent, dating from 9,000BC.

Theophastus (371-287BC), the Greek scholar, wrote about the use of opium poppy juice as did the founding fathers of medicine, Hippocrates, Galen and Dioscorides, who claimed that opium (from where you get, among other things, heroin) was in use over 10,000 years ago and opium products were believed to have been modified and refined by the Sumarians in 3,400BC.

In 315AD, in Israel, remains of a pregnant teenage girl were discovered. The body and the ash from it were found to contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient that creates the ‘high’ in Cannabis and likely to have been given to her as a means of pain relief.

In Athens, Greece, the ‘birthplace of democracy’, liberty was valued above all else. Denying the freedom to pursue happiness via the ingestion of drugs would have been unthinkable. Opium was common in classical times and was literally called ‘the juice’. Usage and addiction to opium had no moral stigma. 

Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, brought to life in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Gladiator’, was an opium addict. Greeks and Romans knew how to get high via countless plants, eg. ivy, daffoldils, mandrake and mushrooms.

marcusaurelius  (left) a likeness, as a bust, of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius

Despite the dangers of overdose, people from all walks of life used psychoactive drugs. They induced dreams, visions and hallucinations and were seen as an avenue to self knowledge, discovery and creativity. These drugs may have enabled them to envision such radical, revolutionary concepts as democracy. The Greeks favourite method of ingesting drugs was by mixing them with wine.

Source: From ‘You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos’ by Robert Arthur ( – 16 November, 2009

Often, the above facts have been intentionally ignored and covered up by historians. Recreational drugs have been translated out of classical literature in the same manner as bawdy sexual references were until recent decades.

Sorcerers, witches and magicians’ powers mostly came from their expertise in drugs. They were the ‘classical’ drug dealers of their day. The effects of the drugs were seen as magical and not ‘of this world’. 

Ancient Greek Olympic Athletes took psychedelic mushrooms to give them a competitive edge in a manner that would have given Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, countless sleepless nights.



United States of America

Sources: The following extracts and information were taken from the book, ‘Chasing the Scream’ by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury Books) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (available on Amazon)

The ‘war on drugs’ was a phrase coined in the 1930’s and came straight after ‘Prohibition’, the ‘war on alcohol’.

As a twelve year old boy in 1904, Harry Anslinger, believed that there were people who looked and sounded normal but could, at any time, become unhinged if introduced to drugs. Seeing his neighbour’s wife in pain and using the drugs that he had been asked to fetch from the dispensary by the husband, Harry had unwittingly entered his personal ‘war on drugs’. During this time, opiates were commonly used and legal in any American pharmacy including the ingredients for heroin and cocaine. Cough medicine and even the original ingredients for Coca-Cola were made from the coca plant and heroin tins were even sold to members of high society in department stores. (below) Harry Anslinger 


To sate American society’s fear of countrywide anxiety, it looked for something real that it could destroy and it settled on drugs. In 1914, the resolve was to rid the country of all drugs.

As an adult, Harry Anslinger rose through federal officer ranks to become head of the then, newly formed, Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), based at the Treasury Department in Washington D.C. Anslinger and his squad had been in the thick of policing Prohibition and when that finished and the US had lost that fourteen year battle, he needed a new direction. The emphasis of the squad was now directed at Drug Prohibition. At the time however, many drugs were still legal eg. marijuana. Harry pledged to eradicate all drugs and in the next thirty years, turned the FBN into the global headquarters for a ‘war on drugs’, which is still being waged throughout the world today.

The early years for Anslinger and his team were aimed at dealing with rooting out opiate users, but that brought limited success, so he turned his attention to marijuana.

The Harrison Act of 1914 sought to ban heroin and cocaine but did allow a loophole; that Doctors could legally prescribe those drugs to addicts.


Many Doctors tried to prove to Anslinger that he was wrong about marijuana and that it had medical properties. However, evidence that ran contrary to Anslinger’s beliefs were disregarded. The spotlight was also pointed firmly at the Jazz scene, where marijuana was a regular bed-fellow among musicians, mainly black, and the people that followed the music.

The main reason for the United States authorities banning drugs was because, in their opinion, “blacks, Mexicans and Chinese were using these chemicals and forgetting ‘their place’ and ‘menacing’ white people.” 

Below is an extract explaining the idea behind the Harrison Act, taken from the website

“Passed by Congress in 1914, the Harrison Act, also known as the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, was the first instance to apply criminal laws to the non-medical use of drugs. Its primary purpose was not only to tax and regulate the sale and distribution of drugs, but also their import and production. Under the Act, any person who was related to the production, import, and distribution of opiates and coca products within the United States was liable to be taxed, and had to register themselves with the IRS. It was intended that the records of such transactions would make it easy for the government to monitor the movement of drugs across the country, and confine the use of such substances only to medical uses. It was stated that anyone breaking the law could face fines up to USD 2,000, and an imprisonment of up to 5 years.”

Did You Know?

The applicability of the Harrison Act in prosecuting doctors for prescribing narcotics to addicts was challenged successfully in 1925, in which Justice McReynolds stated that the state has no power to regulate the practice of medicine.


Once the drugs trade had effectively been criminalised, it was blatantly obvious that criminals were going to step in; people such as Arnold Rothstein, who was a Jewish-American racketeer,businessman and gambler and who became Head of the Jewish mob in New York City, controlled the entire heroin and cocaine trade across the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. As the FBN were harassing and prosecuting Doctors, prescribing legally to addicts, drug distribution was passing from Doctors to criminal like Rothstein. A quote by Johann Hari in the book, ‘Chasing the Scream’ noted that,

“It wasn’t by the Law of nature; it was by political decree” when describing the passing of the drug distribution baton from legal to illegal sources.

rothstein  (left) Arnold Rothstein

Great Britain

The following extract is taken from the Wikipedia page entitled, “Drug Policy of the United Kingdom.”

“Until 1916 drug use was hardly controlled, and widely available opium and coca preparations commonplace.

Between 1916 and 1928 concerns about the use of these drugs by troops on leave from the First World War and then by people associated with the London underworld gave rise to some controls being implemented. The distribution and use of morphine and cocaine, and later cannabis, were criminalised, but these drugs were available to addicts through doctors; this arrangement became known as the “British system” and was confirmed by the report of the Departmental Committee on Morphine and Heroin Addiction (Rolleston Committee) in 1926. The Rolleston Report was followed by “a period of nearly forty years of tranquillity in Britain, known as the Rolleston Era. During this period the medical profession regulated the distribution of licit opioid supplies and the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Acts of 1920 and 1923 controlled illicit supplies. The medical treatment of dependent drug users was separated from the punishment of unregulated use and supply. This policy on drugs was maintained in Britain, and nowhere else, until the 1960s. Under this policy drug use remained low; there was relatively little recreational use and few dependent users, who were prescribed drugs by their doctors as part of their treatment.

It has been argued that the main legal innovations between 1925 and 1964 were in response to international pressures, not domestic problems.

In the 1960s a few doctors prescribed large amounts of heroin, some of which was diverted into the illegal market. Also substances such as cannabis, amphetamines and LSD started to become significant in the UK.

In 1961 the international Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was introduced. To control global drug trading and use, it banned countries from treating addicts by prescribing illegal substances, allowing only scientific and medical uses of drugs. It was not itself binding on countries, which had to pass their own legislation.

Following pressure from the US, the UK implemented the Drugs (Regulation of Misuse) Act in 1964. Although the Convention dealt with the problems of drug production and trafficking, rather than the punishment of drug users, the 1964 Act introduced criminal penalties for possession by individuals of small amounts of drugs, as well as possession with intent to traffic or deal in drugs. The police were soon given the power to stop and search people for illegal drugs.

In 1971 the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) was passed, continuing measures in previous legislation, and classifying drugs into classes A (the most highly regulated), B, and C. Penalties for trafficking and supply were increased in the 1980s.

In 1991 a new phase of UK drug legislation started with an attempt to integrate health and criminal justice responses via Schedule 1A6 Probation Orders. This reduced the separation between medical and punitive responses that had characterised the British system in the past.”



It has been twenty-five years since I was medically retired from the Police Force and one year ago, I found myself back in the thick of drug users and dealers as I embarked on a career in the security industry, as a door security supervisor, working in pubs, clubs and at festivals.

I have found that the likes of Heroin and Cocaine are now used by a much wider demographic. Ecstasy has continued to evolve and, while the price of drugs has reduced, the dangers have seemingly increased as manufacturers and dealers look for ever more alarming ways to make a drug go further. The agents that are used to cut the pure drugs are becoming as dangerous as the pure drug itself.  

For example, a popular cutting agent for Cocaine is Benzocaine, a pharmaceutical drug used in dental anaesthetic and throat sprays. It is often used to mask the fact that the ‘cocaine’ sometimes contains little or no actual cocaine. Benzocaine numbs the area, such as when rubbing the drug back and forth over one’s gums, to simulate the effect when done with actual cocaine. Some cocaine is also cut with Levamisole and in 2014, a Government Minister in England claimed that up to 4/5th’s of cocaine in the United Kingdom was cut with what is, in effect, veterinary medicine used to de-worm livestock such as horses and cows. Lidocaine is another cutting agent used because of its numbing qualities.

Benzocaine and Lidocaine can be purchased for as little as £10 per kilo with the resale value of up to £50,000 when cocaine is cut with them.

The strength of Ecstasy tablets can vary greatly. There are lots of strong drugs as well as many fakes out there; everything from high levels of purity down to placebos (none or insignificant amounts of the drug).

Source: Quotes taken from VICEonline – Author: Mike Segalov – – 16/09/2015


(Ecstasy tablets come in many shapes, sizes and colours as well as in any strength)

There is one certainty that cannot be disputed –

You will never be able to prevent drugs from getting into pubs, clubs and festivals as security staff are extremely limited as to how far they can search an individual. While police officers can detain a person for search under the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law and arrest them if found to be in possession for personal use, or in possession with intent to supply (dealer), a registered door security supervisor can only search with the permission of the punter. Obviously if they refuse to be search they are unlikely to gain entry however, if searched, all one can do is search the outer clothing and pockets along with the hair, hands, shoes, and whatever they are carrying eg a bag, handbag, rucksack etc. Pat downs are fine but one must take great care not to touch vulnerable areas like the groin or buttocks. A favourite place to hide drugs, with a view to gaining entry, will be the underwear, as they know we cannot search there. or by stuffing*, plugging* or swallowing* the drugs.

*stuffing relates to females inserting drugs into their vagina; plugging is when drugs are inserted into the anal cavity. Swallowing is self explanatory ie. when small packages of a drug are swallowed and then retrieved when the swallower goes to the toilet. Drugs are normally packed into pellets/bullets made out of condoms or similar. 


The following stories come from the website, in an article written by Jules Lefevre on 26.09.2017

These are some of the dumbest ways that people have tried to bring drugs into festivals.

  • While conducting drug operations at Melbourne’s (Australia) Listen Out Festival in September 2017, Police busted a punter who had allegedly covered his ecstasy tablets in vegemite and cling wrapped them around his penis. He was trying to avoid detection by sniffer dogs but to no avail. Cling wrapping them to your member is increasingly popular, as the user/dealer knows that security staff do not have the right to forage in their underwear.
  • There was a guy who wrote his name and telephone number on his little baggies (small clip top clear bag used for holding drugs) in case someone found it. Doh!
  • There was the man who had every detail of his drug deals written in his phone. When the unfortunate guy’s phone was checked, it was revealed he was in the process of setting up another deal while describing the state of the drugs.
  • Two men were arrested two weeks prior to a festival in Sydney, for allegedly trying to hide drugs on the festival grounds in Olympic Park. They attempted to drill holes in the building so that they could stash them, then collect them when the festival was open.
  • There was a girl who put coffee and pepper up her vagina.  She secreted thirty-seven ecstasy tablets, in a ziplock bag, cling wrapped them and, between each layer, she sprinkled copious amounts of coffee grounds and pepper. She then inserted them. However, all her efforts were in vain as the sniffer dogs still located her stash. 



This section will list the drugs available on the open market and the likely symptoms one may experience after taking it/them. It is not an exhaustive list as there are many more illegal drugs out there:


The symptoms of alcohol poisoning can be confusion, vomiting, breathing difficulties, irregular or slow heart rate, clammy pale skin, lack of consciousness and a low body temperature.


A high or extra strong dose can cause high temperature, high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, unconsciousness and seizures.


High doses or use of Skunk (particularly strong version of cannabis) can cause psychological and mental issues. Problematic people already suffering mental issues. Symptoms of overdose can be panic, extreme anxiety, paranoia, acute psychosis or hallucinations.


Cocaine or Crack Cocaine overdose symptoms are directly related to the drug’s effects on the cardio-vascular system, irregular heart rythym, heart attack, stroke or seizure.


An overdose on an opioid drug can be fatal because it can dramatically slow breathing; combining opioids with other drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazapines can put you at an even higher risk of fatal overdose. Look for slowed or stopped breathing, unconsciousness and pinpoint pupils.


An overdose of LSD is very rare but a user can still have a bad experience, called a ‘bad trip’. Sometimes a user may end up harming themselves or others. LSD may also trigger mental illness in people that have that predisposition. Symptoms include: sense of extreme panic, feeling detached from one’s body or thoughts, anxiety or combativeness.


Adverse effects from a high dose can cause anxiety, nausea, abnormally high heart rate, high blood pressure, extreme weakness or vertigo as well as a bad trip, similar to LSD.


Users often have a lack of knowledge of the composition of these substances as there are countless variations of the same branded drug. Many NPS are sold as LSD. The signs and symptoms include agitation, delirium, aggression, paranoia, violence, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, extremely high body temperature.

NOTE:   Some festival goers unknowingly take ‘bath salts’, believing that they are taking MDMA (Ecstasy). Bath Salts are synthetic designer drugs that can be more harmful than MDMA (Methylene-Dioxy-Methamphetamine). The symptoms of Bath Salt overdose can be abnormal heart rate, heart palpitations, muscle spasms/tension, kidney failure, agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, severe sweating. Recent NPS include Mephadrone, Methylone and Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (bath salts), synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice and synthetic hallucinogens such as 251-NBOMe or N-bomb, Salvia, Nitrous Oxide, M-cat, Meow Meow.

Former legal highs (NPS) were made illegal in Jersey on 21st December 2009. They were only made illegal in the United Kingdom on 26th May 2016 under the new Psychoactive Substances Act.



This drug is a very strong pain relief substance that usually comes in patch form and is used to reduce chronic pain. Users/Addicts find ways to extract the drug from the patch, often with fatal consequences.

On 1st March 2007, a news release was published by Jersey’s Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Susan Turnbull. `it was a public health alert issued to Jersey Doctors and Pharmacists following the death of up to five people who were believed to have misused the painkilling medicine. Most of the Jersey deaths appear to have been associated with injecting a phentanyl solution using vinegar to extract the active drug from the patches. As well as being potentially lethal, injecting extracted phentanyl can cause abscesses and thrombosis.



Governments and Law Enforcement organisations have been fighting the war on drugs, all over the world, since the beginning of the 20th Century. 

Are we close to winning it ?

In my humble opinion; NO, not even close.

In many cases, drugs financiers and top level dealers do not take drugs themselves. They are in it for the riches that the sale of drugs will bring them. They are all preying on the ‘needs’ of the user and addict and the street level dealers that sell to fund their own habit. 

What if there was another way to tackle this ‘WAR’? 

At this juncture, I would like to recommend that people read a book which explains the drugs culture in the UK, the policing of it and how one person’s views were turned on their head after working as an undercover drugs officer for fourteen years. I found this book extremely insightful and had the pleasure to speak to its author Neil Woods (co-written with JS Rafaeli). 


Neil Woods is not alone in his views on the so called ‘war on drugs’. He is joined by other former and current police officers, medical professionals, prison officers, military personnel and intelligence service operatives among many groups; some of these people are or were high ranking.

Neil is the current Chairman of LEAP UK; LEAP standing for LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTION PARTNERSHIP. On their website the Introduction in their press pack states that:

“LEAP UK (Law Enforcement Action Partnership) is the British Branch of the 501(c)3 non-profit, international educational organisation, comprising former and current police officers, members of the intelligence services, military and a range of figures from the criminal justice system who have joined together with civilians to raise awareness to the failed, dangerous and expensive pursuit of a punitive drugs policy.

Our mission is to reduce the multitude of unintended, harmful consequences resulting from fighting the ‘War on Drugs’ and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition. We advocate reform and an evidence based policy with a public health focus, including decriminalisation and nuanced regulatory models for all drugs.”


In 2017 after a trial period the year before, an organisation called THE LOOP, “which provides drug safety testing, welfare and harm reduction services at nightclubs, festivals and other leisure events” were going live on at least six major music festivals offering that “festival-goers will be able to take their drugs to a testing tent run by The Loop, an organisation which usually conducts forensic testing of drugs seized by police. They’ll then tell them what’s in the drugs before destroying whatever was handed over.”  (source:

The user is told, when they return after handing over a small sample of their stash, what the strength is (if any) and what’s in it. After that, the ‘user’ will be given a short supportive, non judgemental talk with a drugs counsellor and then they will be fully equipped to make an informed choice as to whether they take those ‘drugs’ or dispose of them. 

Ultimately we are all responsible for what we put into our bodies, but having all the available information out there for people to digest, gives a much more informed view and allows individuals to make personal choices.


Websites of Interest

The Loop


Recommended Reading

GOOD COP, BAD WAR by Neil Woods and JS Rafaeli

DRUG WARS by Neil Woods and JS Rafaeli (JUST RELEASED)


Introducing ‘Xena’


Hi, My name is Róisín ‘Xena’ Pitman, a retired police officer from the British Crown Dependency of Jersey.

I am currently the owner/director of Red Zen C.I. Ltd., a security business specialising in door security for public houses, nightclub venues and festivals; private investigations; self protection and awareness courses for women and vulnerable adults, and will soon be offering national qualifications in a number of security based subjects including, door security supervisor, conflict management, physical intervention in the security industry, control and restraint and a number of similar subjects through my affiliation to a well respected security training academy based in the United Kingdom.

During my Police career I spent nearly three years as a member of the Police Drug Squad and also part of a joint DIEU (Drugs Intelligence and Enforcement Unit) with the States of Jersey Customs and Excise department.

Since February 1980, I had been a student of the traditional Japanese martial art of Aikido. As I enter my thirty-ninth year of study, I am the current holder of 6th Dan in Aikido awarded in 2014 by Master Yasuhisa Shioda, Headmaster of the Shioda International Aikido Federation, Japan, son of the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido, Kaiso Gozo Shioda, a style still used today by the Japanese police and many police forces throughout the world. I also hold a Level 6 Instructor’s certificate under Master Shioda. I also hold a 4th Dan in Mushin-Do (Mushinkan Aikido) under the late Master, A. Francis Ramasamy aka Samy, of Pilau Penang, Malaysia.

In 1984, I assisted in the introduction of arrest and restraint classes to the Jersey Police under the late William (Bill) Nelson. In 1987 and for the next twenty years I regularly ran arrest and restraint courses for the Jersey Honorary Police (elected officials in each of the twelve Jersey Parishes – similar to Special Constables but with more power).

In 1987 I started my own Aikido club which is still running today and have taught in Jersey for over thirty years. I have also taught in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia and, as well as specialising in Aikido for the able bodied and disabled, I also specialise in self protection and awareness for women and vulnerable adults.

In 2011 I launched Mukyokan International to oversee the Aikido Clubs that I am associated with in the Channel Islands, United Kingdom, France and Italy.

More recently I have been up-skilling and taking various courses and CPDs (continuing professional development) and now currently have Level 3 in Education and Training, Physical Intervention in the Security Industry, Conflict Management, Control and Restraint and Handcuffing. My training is ongoing as I further my portfolio in the security industry with the aim of completing Level 3 Professional Security Instructor.

I continue to work in door security every weekend.

NB. Why ‘Xena?’

A nickname given to me by the instructor and students in Penang, Malaysia in 2015. Seeing a confident, high ranking martial arts female, someone said that I must be a ‘warrior princess’, then another shouted out, “Yes, like Xena” and the name stuck.