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New drink spiking measures introduced by government

Published:  19 December, 2023

Drink spiking is set to be targeted by police and door staff in a raft of new measures unveiled by the home secretary James Cleverly as the festive party-going season gets into full swing.

The new package will see changes to the legislation, research into self-testing kits, more training for door staff and better education for young people, to raise awareness about the threat.

As reported by Harpers, several bars across the UK have already taken it upon themselves to roll out drink spiking test kits this month in order to mitigate the risk of spiking amidst increased footfall for Christmas.

The new measures will also include coordinated police action to crackdown on spiking during key weeks of the year.

The step up to tackle spiking comes as the government prepares to clarify under the Criminal Justice Bill, that without any doubt, spiking is illegal, with perpetrators facing up to 10 years behind bars.

Dawn Dines, CEO and founder of the charity Stamp Out Spiking Global, said: “This is a monumental announcement. I have been campaigning on behalf of the victims of spiking for over 20 years now. I am so relieved that finally, some sort of justice will be available to the survivors of this cowardly offence.

“Spiking being clearly recognised in law and the language being modernised will give a clear message to the perpetrators that giving someone any drug – including alcohol without that person’s knowledge or consent – can result in a criminal conviction and will not be tolerated.”

Official statistics on spiking are not routinely published, but in December 2022 the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said that between September 2021 and September 2022, nearly 5,000 cases of spiking incidents had been reported to forces across England and Wales.

During a time when visits to hospitality venues are dwindling, the reassurance that spiking is no longer an invisible crime and that customers can feel safe in bars across the country is undoubtedly a positive development for the industry. 

Reflecting on the government’s spiking prevention package, Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said: “The safety of customers is a top priority for hospitality businesses, so highlighting and informing measures to prevent spiking is important.

“Education and proper training are essential and hospitality businesses continue to work tirelessly to prevent spiking.

“We’re committed to working with sector partners to provide venues with up-to-date advice and guidance on best practice to prevent spiking, as well as with the Home Office on measures like these.”