CoLab’s research on tackling spiking for the Home Office

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Below is a message from CoLab who have conducted research in conjunction with the Home Office into tackling spiking:

Your knowledge and experiences were important in helping us to understand what actions the Home Office should take. I’m pleased to share the final recommendations that have been reported back to HASC:

  • The Home Office has concluded that there are already several offences which cover incidents of spiking and have not found any gap in the law that a new spiking offence would fill.
  • It has also been determined that a new specific spiking offence,
    – would not capture any new criminal behaviour,
    – would not reduce the evidential burden to prosecute such offences;
    – would not increase the sentencing powers available to judges in such cases, and
    – would not increase the likelihood of charging or prosecuting an offender for spiking offences.
  • The primary barriers to prosecution are the lack of an identifiable suspect and gathering sufficient evidence to both charge and support a prosecution. These barriers to prosecution would continue to apply even if a new offence were created and would therefore be unlikely to increase prosecutions.

It has therefore been concluded that a new offence is not required and new legislation will not be brought in.

  • However, in order to ensure absolute clarity around what spiking is and how it should be reported, the Home Office has just undertaken a targeted consultation on amendments to the statutory guidance issued under section 182 of the Licencing Act 2003.
    In future, the section 182 guidance could include explicit reference to spiking, providing a government definition of the crime, highlighting the existing offences which can be used to prosecute incidents of spiking, including examples of spiking and providing signposting to resources for venues.
  • The Government’s focus will remain on non-legislative measures to tackle spiking and focus efforts on practical and long-lasting actions. The Home Office will therefore continue to:
    – invest in projects with a particular focus on protecting women in their communities such as the Safer Streets Fund and the Safety,     of Women at Night Fund
    – work with police to continue building a rapid testing capability
    – work closely with Festivals and Outdoor Events sector to ensure the safety of the public at summer events
    – work closely with Universities UK and DfE on the issue of spiking at universities, particularly during the ‘freshers’ period
    incorporate spiking into Government’s communications to tackle violence against women and girls, known as ‘ENOUGH’

You can read the response in more detail by clicking on this link.

Finally, the Home Office is currently drafting the statutory report. If you would be happy for any of your quotes to be included, please let us know.

Many thanks once again for your time and collaborative input.

Best wishes,
The CoLab team

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