Home Affairs Committee launches inquiry into drink spiking

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Home Affairs Committee launches inquiry into drink spiking

Related tags Drink spiking

The Home Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry to understand better the prevalence of spiking and the effectiveness of the police response to it.

Since the night-time economy unlocked over the summer, there have been increasing reports of drink spiking, in which substances such as illegal or legal drugs are added to people’s drinks without their knowledge.

The inquiry, announced today (9 December), will aim to get a better understanding of the prevalence of spiking, the forms it takes and the impact it has had on victims.

It cites a recent poll found that one in nine women and one in 17 men in the UK say they have been the victim of drink spiking, and one in three women and one in five men knew someone who had been a victim of drink spiking.

“Spiking is a particularly pernicious act," says Tim Loughton MP, acting Chair of the Home Affairs Committee.

"It is specifically intended to make victims vulnerable and leave them unaware of what is happening to them. It relies on deception, with victims only realising what has happened later and left doubting themselves due to the uncertainty that being spiked causes.

“At present, the prevalence of spiking is poorly understood. That is why as part of this inquiry we have launched a survey to hear directly from victims about what happened to them and how they were supported. We also want to hear from those who have witnessed spiking incidents and have experience in supporting victims so we can understand their perspectives.

“We want to understand what more can be done to stamp this out, but also how victims can be better supported in reporting these incidents and dealing with the long-term consequences on them. We also want to see how police can work with partners in the entertainment sector and other areas to identify more effectively when such incidents take place.”

The Night Time Industries Association, which represents 1,200 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK, has been calling for an inquiry into drink spiking since October.

“This [announcement] has been welcomed by the industry and stakeholders and will go along way to gaining a level of understanding of these crimes, the breadth of the issue, where they are most prevalent, and handling of drink spiking cases across the UK,” says Michael Kill CEO of the NTIA.
“We are keen to support the inquiry as an industry, and hope that this can be completed quickly so that we can collectively tackle these abhorrent crimes within society.”

As part of the inquiry, the Committee has launched a public survey to give individuals who have experienced or witnessed spiking the opportunity to explain what happened and what support was provided following the incident.

Members of the public can take part in the online survey here​. The deadline for responses is 11.59pm on Wednesday 5 January.

As part of its call for evidence, the Home Affairs Committee will also welcome written submissions from businesses. For more information, click here​. 

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