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The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Alongside the Night Time Industries Has Launched a Week-Long Initiative Aimed at Curbing This Despicable Crime

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spiking

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) alongside the Night Time Industries has launched a week-long initiative aimed at curbing this despicable crime. The initiative, which commenced on Monday 18th March and will conclude on Sunday 24th March, marks the first national effort to combat spiking across England and Wales.

Throughout this week of action, Police Forces have intensified their focus on the NTE, mobilising additional resources and implementing targeted strategies to bolster investigative efforts. Recognising the multifaceted nature of spiking cases, which often involve rapidly metabolising substances and scant evidence trails, police have collaborated closely with stakeholders across the NTE spectrum.

Michael Kill CEO NTIA Says “Crucially, this initiative underscores a united front against spiking, with industry stakeholders, authorities, and communities rallying together to safeguard the sanctity of cultural and social spaces. The commitment of all stakeholders has been unwavering, as evidenced by their tireless endeavours to combat this crime and foster an environment where individuals can revel in leisure activities without fear or apprehension.”

“Enhancing the efficacy of police investigations is paramount, and early reporting coupled with forensic scrutiny are pivotal in holding perpetrators to account. To this end, the Police have forged partnerships with key stakeholders within the NTE, equipping staff with the requisite training to detect and address spiking incidents proactively.”

“It is more important now than ever that we consider the broader societal environments that this crime takes place in, while we build robust data profiles around this crime and utilise it to further target these individuals, but it must be a collective effort with input from all stakeholders.”

Statistics released in December revealed that on average, police receive 561 reports of spiking per month. However, it is believed that spiking is under-reported, in part due to harmful myths and stereotypes which can prevent victims from coming forward.

The week of action aims to improve police investigations into spiking, which is often a complex and challenging offence to investigate because drugs pass through the system quickly and there is often limited evidence to identify offenders.

Early reporting and police forensic testing is key, which is why forces have been working with licensed venues to train bar staff in how to handle spiking in their premises. Neighbourhood officers have also visited town centres and universities to encourage people enjoying nights out to be vigilant to the symptoms of spiking and report it to police straightaway, should it happen to them or a friend.

All forces in England and Wales have taken part in the week of action, with a number of forces receiving dedicated funding from the Home Office to further boost operational activity, including:

  • Leicestershire Police, where increased patrols are taking place in busy town centres and licensed venues.
  • Humberside Police, where plain clothed officers will patrol the night-time economy to gather intelligence on potential suspects and offenders.
  • West Mercia Police, where a targeted campaign is encouraging people to report information about individuals suspected of being involved in spiking.

Assistant Chief Constable Samantha Millar, National Police Chiefs’ Council Violence Against Women and Girls Strategic Programme Director, said: “Spiking can have a significant, traumatic impact on victims and feelings of safety in the night-time economy, particularly for women and girls.

“Spiking is a complex offence to investigate, which is why quick reporting and early evidence gathering is key, particularly police forensic testing. It’s really important that young people in particular are aware of the symptoms of spiking and feel confident in reporting it to the police, should it happen to them or someone they know.

“I hope that the policing response to protect women and girls in the night-time economy shows how committed we are to making our streets safer and sends a message to perpetrators that there is nowhere for them to hide.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “Spiking is an abhorrent crime that undermines the public’s right to feel safe in their communities. That’s why we are funding police forces across the country to intensify their operations to tackle this sickening crime using new tactics to pursue offenders and protect victims.

“But we aren’t stopping there. We are changing the law to make it crystal clear spiking is illegal. We’re funding research into rapid testing kits. We’re training night-time venue staff to respond better to incidents, collect evidence and safeguard their customers.

“This government will do what is necessary to keep women and girls safe.”

Mark Morgan, Licensing SAVI Lead, said: “Spiking is a horrendous crime.  I’ve seen first-hand and more recently in speaking to victims and their families, the significant impact caused. 

“However, with our combined efforts, we can make a real difference against this threat and send a clear message to those intent on perpetrating harm.  We have been working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to support venues in tackling spiking and have written good practice guides for licensed venues and customers.

“Alongside this, we have worked with behavioural scientists from the National Crime Agency to develop offender-focused posters and digital screen displays, targeting those most likely to cause harm and moving away from ‘victim blaming’ campaigns. We’ve also collaborated with the Night Time Industries Association to promote awareness of how staff at licensed premises can support victims and prevent spiking.”

What should I do if I think I’ve been spiked?

Call 999 or 101 to report it to the police. We need to know about every possible spiking so we can investigate, even if no other crime has taken place. If you are out in a bar or club, you can report to a member of staff, who will be able to help and support you.

If you are injured or have symptoms you are worried about after being spiked, call NHS 111.

If you think you’ve been sexually assaulted, you can go to your nearest sexual assault referral centre (SARC) for specialist care and support. At a SARC you can receive a medical or forensic examination (whether or not you decide to report to the police).

If you’ve been affected by crime and you need confidential support or information, you can also call Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.

What happens when I am tested?

If police feel it’s appropriate, they will take a non-invasive urine sample. Some drugs leave the body in a very short time (within 12 hours), so it’s important to test as soon as possible. Other drugs remain in the body longer, so testing will be considered up to seven days after the incident. The test the police use is the most effective way of finding out whether you have been spiked.

If you are tested in a hospital or by your GP, you will need to also have a police test, as this is what can be used as evidence to support charges or convictions.

If you tell the police how much you have drunk and whether you have voluntarily taken drugs, we will be able to provide a more accurate result. It is not a crime to have illegal drugs in your system (unless you are driving), so please don’t let this stop you reporting spiking.

The test results will come back in three weeks and will be discussed with you.

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