Spiking with a needle ‘trend’ should be treated with same urgency as terrorism

·2-min read
(PA) (PA Wire)
(PA) (PA Wire)

Spiking with needles in nightclubs should be treated with the same urgency as terrorism, a Parliament debate heard.

MPs considered a petition, created by university graduate Hannah Thomson calling on the Government to make it law for nightclubs to search guests on arrival to prevent “harmful weapons” entering.

Miss Thomson, 24, started the petition, which now has over 172,000 signatures, due to her concerns over the spate of needle spiking and realising she had never been searched in her four years at university.

Tonia Antoniazzi (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor) (PA Media)
Tonia Antoniazzi (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor) (PA Media)

Speaking at the Westminster Hall debate, Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi said: “It is becoming a craze, a trend and it needs to be taken seriously by everyone. Will we have to wait for something terrible to happen before making a change?”

MP for Warwick Matt Western added: “The escalation of scale seems to be quite extraordinary. They have to treat it with as much urgency as terrorism. It is really alarming.”

The debate heard there have been 280 cases of spiking with a needle in the past two months, compared to 2,600 recorded cases of drink spiking between 2015 and 2019 in the UK.

MPs also heard police in Nottinghamshire were investigating 15 cases of party goers being spiked with a sharp object in the past week.

But the politicians commended a trial scheme in Devon and Cornwall in which novel drink testing kits were offered to clubbers, which could potentially be rolled out to the rest of the UK.

Ms Antoniazzi added: “Safety should never be about cost.”

Politicians also heard there was an “information vacuum” on spiking with calls made for police chiefs across the country to convene to uncover the full extent of the issue.

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, said: “There is an epidemic against violence on women. Spiking through injection is simply a manifestation of this – make misogyny a hate crime.”

MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips claimed spiking was “by no means a new thing” but wanted perpetrators to fear the consequences of carrying a needle.

She said: “There needs to be more severe consequences for carrying a needle, carrying a needle is like carrying a knife, it is carrying a weapon – the only intention is to harm.”

The debate was heard as part of a wider discussion on violence against women and girls, described as an “epidemic of epic proportions.”

MPs called for education for young boys to stop such behaviour being normalised.

Ms Antoniazzi said: “I hate the word banter because it has consequences. More younger people are online with very dangerous pornography and materials, it needs addressing. Education is key.”

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