Spiking: MPs say it is a heinous crime and should be a specific criminal offence

·3-min read

Spiking someone's drink or injecting them with drugs is a heinous crime that should be a specific criminal offence, according to a group of MPs.

A report by the Home Affairs Select Committee also calls for better staff training at music festivals and more door staff in bars and clubs, despite acknowledging it cannot say how many people are affected.

"No-one knows how prevalent spiking is, whether by drink, drug or needle," the report says.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests the practice is widespread and dangerous, and that many people, particularly young, particularly women, are affected by it," it adds.

The report calls for more robust evidence, saying: "The most pressing need is for police to collect more data on perpetrators and their motives."

It gives equal credence to drink and injection spiking and categorises everyone who has alleged they have been spiked as a victim, quoting statistics from an anonymous survey of Twitter users and signatories of an online petition for improved nightclub safety.

A spokesman told Sky News that the published results, including hundreds of alleged incidents where respondents said no action was taken by the venue or the police, could not be verified.

Kharys Day, a 20-year-old hotel receptionist from York, told Sky News she believes her drink was spiked in a club earlier this month.

"It's like something switched in me, my friend said that I just went all floppy, I couldn't support myself, I started being sick and I personally don't really remember anything," she said.

"I was carried out by bouncers and I don't remember that, and bearing in mind I'd only had three glasses of wine that's not enough for me to just forget the whole night."

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She said she was taken to hospital after banging her head and that she was told there were traces of narcotics in a urine sample. She said she has not yet reported the incident to the police.

Joscelin Story, a student in Leeds and one of the organisers of the online anti-spiking movement Girl's Night In, blames what she calls a "toxic lad culture" for not confronting violence against women.

"Every girl knows someone who's been spiked or been assaulted on a night out, but it's not often you speak to a boy who knows anyone that's spiked someone," she said.

Jim Campbell, a drug expert and former Home Office forensic scientist, told Sky News he believes spiking by injection is "very rare" but agrees more evidence is needed on drink spiking.

"Because the drugs leave the system quickly more [effort] is needed to collect a sample under chain of evidence as soon as possible and analyse it as soon as possible because I think that is the only way we'll get hard evidence that this is a true problem," he said.

Rachel McLean, the safeguarding minister, has welcomed the committee's report.

"We're working with the police across the whole country to make sure they've got the right response so they can tackle the perpetrators of these crimes and we are also looking at whether there is a need for a specific offence of spiking," she said.

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