Lack of available data means that the ‘true extent’ of drink spiking in nightclubs and bars remains unknown, says a report from the Home Affairs Committee.
The report calls for a focused approach to make sure suspected incidents are better investigated and to build up a knowledge base.
Spiking incidents include putting drugs such as GHB or prescription medications into someone’s drink, or adding more alcohol. Spiking is likely to remain an ‘invisible crime’ unless more is done to improve awareness and support victims, the document says, with issues around data collection a significant barrier to policing. The government is currently considering the creation of a new spiking criminal offence, and the committee also wants to see police forces carry out forensic testing more quickly and ‘to a quality that can be used in court’, as well as venue staff trained to identify spiking incidents.
‘There needs to be a concerted effort to stamp out spiking,’ said committee chair Dame Diana Johnson. ‘Much more work needs to be done to improve understanding and awareness so that people are reassured that the help will be there should they need it. They need to know that they will be taken seriously and action taken. It isn’t good enough to tell people to put lids on their drinks or normalise taking a testing kit out with you. Everyone should have the right to go out and enjoy themselves without fear. The message needs to be sent to perpetrators that spiking is absolutely unacceptable and will be punished.’
Report at www.committees.parliament.uk