Subject 1: Drink Spiking and Date Rape Drugs

Adding drugs or excess quantities of alcohol to someone’s drink, known in the UK as ‘spiking’, is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Why do people spike drinks?

A person’s drink can be spiked to make them more vulnerable for a variety of motives, including theft or sexual assault.

How do people spike drinks?

Shots of alcohol can be added to drinks to make them stronger, causing someone to get drunk much quicker than expected. Or sometimes a drink can be spiked with drugs that are specifically designed to incapacitate someone.

Date Rape and Spiking

The most common reason for spiking is ‘Date rape’ A date rape drug is administered and incapacitates another person and renders that person vulnerable to a sexual assault, including rape.

Date rape drugs

The most common date rape drugs are ‘GHB’ and ‘Rohypnol’ both are medicines that when administered in a drink will sedate or incapacitate a victim and leave them vulnerable. They are odourless, colourless and tasteless, typically symptoms appear after 15-30 minutes ‘Party’ Drugs

Spiking with ’party drugs’ like: Ecstasy, LSD and ketamine is less common but still prevalent and similarly leaves the victim in a compromised state and vulnerable to attack.

Prevention of spiking

Spiking can be mitigated against with ‘Spikeys’ or ‘Alcotops’,

brightly coloured plastic stoppers and lids that prevent substances being put into bottles and glasses.

However, the best advice is to not leave your drink unattended. Keep an eye on it at all times and do not accept drinks that you yourself have not seen poured or opened.

Recognizing the signs of spiking:

Mixing alcohol and drugs can be very dangerous and can cause serious medical problems, ranging from nausea to coma. The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what the victim has been spiked with, how much alcohol they have consumed, their size and weight and other factors.

Symptoms of spiking could include:

Lowered inhibitions Loss of balance Feeling sleepy Visual problems Confusion Nausea Vomiting Unconsciousness.

Subject 2: What to do If you believe someone has been spiked

  • Inform the venue manager and the Head Door supervisor.
  • Take the victim to a safe room, or quiet area if possible.
  • Stay with the victim and keep talking to them.
  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates.
  • Contact the Police.
  • If they still have their drink, ask to secure it for evidence.
  • Don’t let them go home on their own. Call a family member or friend.
  • Don’t let them leave with someone they don’t know or trust.
  • Don’t let them drink more alcohol – this could lead to more serious problems.
  • Log the incident with as much detail as possible. 
  • If there is a suspect on site: Detain them.
  • Collect CCTV & Worn Body Camera evidence if available.

Subject 3: Post Incident Management

After an incident it is vitally important you complete a post incident report form, you must also communicate with the venue, your post incident procedures should already be in place.

  • Preserve the scene
  • seal & physically secure, do not touch or move anything
  • Secure all CCTV & Body Worn Camera footage
  • Obtain as many witness details as possible
  • Complete incident logs before leaving site
  • Report all incidents of spiking to your central office / control room as advised by your security contractor.

Subject 4: When filling out incident logs.

  • Correct time, day & date
  • Exact location within venue 
  • Detail all DS present
  • Provide details of subject(s) 
  • Detail exactly what happened 
  • State exactly what force was used – do not just write: ‘Reasonable force’ 
  • Detail all in injuries (before & after DS contact) 
  • Was first aid provided
  • Include the outcome.

Subject 5: WAVE - Wellness and Vulnerability Training

The safety initiative ‘Ask for Angela’ is being rolled out to bars, clubs, and other licensed businesses across the UK.  People who feel unsafe, vulnerable, or threatened can discreetly seek help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase will indicate to staff that they require help with their situation and a trained member of staff will then look to support and assist them. This might be through reuniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police. 

Venues that support ‘Ask for Angela’ have been given Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement (WAVE) training. Delivered by the Met’s licensing officers, it gives staff the ability to help customers who may be in a situation that makes them vulnerable or unsafe.

‘Ask for Angela’ was originally developed by Lincolnshire County Council and adopted by the Met in 2016 as a localised initiative by its police licensing officers. The introduction of WAVE training in 2017 underpinned the delivery of Ask for Angela and more venues began to take on the initiative.

The key aims of WAVE are to: Prevent and reduce violent crime. Prevent and reduce sexual assault. Reduce preventable injury. Reduce opportunities for criminal activity. Lastly Promote partnerships & engagement with the community.

Who is classed as a vulnerable person?

A vulnerable person is an individual at risk of harm.

What can make a person vulnerable?

Their age, being isolated from their friends, the influence of Drugs and Alcohol, their state of mind, the presence of an offender.

How do we recognise vulnerability?

Is the person: Unsteady on their feet, Incoherent, Irrational,

Glazed eyes, dishevelled appearance, lost, alone, being plied with alcohol/drugs, drowsy, upset, being controlled by somebody,

Injury, suspiciously quiet, excitable, missing clothing.

Where can we intervene?

In the street, by conducting welfare checks and engaging with the public. In the premises, with refusal of entry and ejection.

It is our job to intervene and ensure all patrons are safe, small measures like asking if someone is ok, or checking if someone can get home safely make a big difference.

Subject 6: Keeping Nightlife Safe Check-list For Operators

  • Use of Ask for Angela and implementation of this in your venue.
  • Ensuring all staff (including door staff) are trained in Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement Training – This will empower staff to identify and manage vulnerable persons, safeguarding them.
  • Training bar staff that when concerns are raised by customers around welfare/wellbeing that door staff/management are contacted immediately to respond to and manage these issues swiftly.
  • Consideration of trained welfare staff at premises whose sole responsibility is to seek out vulnerable persons and liaise with staff members to safeguard them
  • Re-visiting ejection policies and duty of care policies to ensure that persons are not left alone to become victims of crime and action can be taken to ensure they leave safely
  • Use of incident mapping within your premises to highlight where issues are manifesting – This will allow you to identify where risk manifests within your premises and respond to it
  • Ensuring that where door staff are used, they are visible and approachable and know what to do in relation to any reports made to them – Consideration always should be to safeguard the victim/identify the offender and detain them/contact the Police, particularly where a person identifies themselves as a victim of a sexual assault
  • Searching policies ensuring that door staff are searching for customers, considering the use of metal detecting wands and also considering the use of detecting arches in line with licensing conditions and Risk Assessment.
  • Searching policies to be adapted to pay particular attention to liquids being bought into the premises and small sharp objects such as needles/pins/tacks or other similar objects which may be missed but will undoubtedly lead to persons becoming vulnerable
  • Policy and training to be delivered on special medical conditions (for example when finding epi pens and diabetic medication during a search) 
  • Use of drugs dogs to support any searching regime to identify illicit substances and deter any offenders
  • Policy of disposing of any drinks left unattended (This will need to be advertised extensively in your venue to prevent it becoming a flash point)
  • Additional toilet checks.
  • Increased floor presence