Police issue New Year’s Eve warning as figures reveal 5,000 cases of spiking were reported in just one year
- September 2021 to August 2022 saw 4,924 spiking reports in England and Wales
- Data shows 74 per cent reporting spiking are female, with an average age of 27
- Police say to report suspected spiking immediately so victims are tested quickly
Almost 5,000 reports of spiking were made in the year to September, police chiefs revealed as they warned New Year’s Eve partygoers of the dangers.
Police chiefs last night issued a warning ahead of New Year’s Eve parties asking revellers to immediately report any suspected spiking incidents to ensure that victims can be tested quickly.
From September 2021 to August 2022 there were 4,924 reports of spiking in England and Wales. Of these, 2,581 involved a needle, but the data for drink spiking covers only May to September, meaning this form of spiking remains the most common.
National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) data also shows that 74 per cent of those reporting spiking are female, with an average age of 27.
From September 2021 to August 2022 there were 4,924 reports of spiking in England and Wales
However, less than 2 per cent of offences led to a prosecution in 2020, the last full year for which statistics were published. Deputy chief constable Maggie Blyth said spiking can be hard to investigate as drugs pass through the body quickly.
She said: ‘Drugs pass through the system quickly and there is often limited evidence to identify offenders, which means it’s not easy to get these cases to court,.
‘In order to have the best chance of identifying drugs and bringing offenders to justice, our message to anyone who thinks they have been spiked is to report early and be tested by the police.’
A student survey found earlier this year that 14 per cent of respondents thought they had been given drugs in their drinks without their knowledge.
Police can take a urine sample to check for substances, but warned some drugs can leave the body within 12 hours so it was important to test as quickly as possible.
Up to November this year, 800 spiking reports had been sent for forensic analysis, with three per cent of these showing a drug that supported a spiking incident and another eight per cent showing a medicine that has sedative side effects.
The most commonly detected drugs were cocaine, ketamine and MDMA or ecstasy.
Chief executive of Rape Crisis, Jayne Butler, said spiking was a serious crime that had devastating effects on victims.
‘If you suspect you have experienced spiking you might be unsure what has happened to you, have vague memories, or feel confused,’ she added.
‘You might know you have been spiked but don’t know if you have been raped or sexually assaulted.
‘No matter the circumstances, you are not to blame and support is available.’