Petition launched for review of UK’s drink spiking laws and education

It comes after police began investigating multiple reports of needle attacks in Nottingham nightclubs

A petition has been launched to review the UK’s drink spiking laws after a recent rise in attacks.

This week, police in Nottingham announced that they were investigating multiple reports of needle attacks in some of the city’s nightclubs, while drink spiking at house parties is becoming another “big concern” for police in England.

The new petition, available to sign on, comes from Mair Howells, the creator of the I’ve Been Spiked Instagram account, which shares experienced and support surrounding drink spiking.

“In February 2020, I had my drink spiked,” Howells wrote on the petition page. “Since then, I have been campaigning to raise awareness around drink spiking. When it happened to me there was no support for victims, and it was difficult to access any information on the issue. This left me feeling lost, vulnerable and helpless.”

Elsewhere, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has called for a Home Office inquiry into the rising number of spiking incidents.

The organisation’s CEO Michael Kill said: “The NTIA are very concerned to learn about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents taking place across the country. We support all those coming forward to speak about their experiences. It goes without saying that everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without fearing for their own safety, and we are saddened to hear that some don’t feel this way.”

Discussing the success of a recent testing pilot in Devon and Cornwall, Kill added: “The Home Office should launch a formal inquiry to examine the results of that pilot, and the lessons that can be applied to the industry and policing nationally. The scheme found that through having on-site testing available in the night time economy, data could be collected that would provide a more accurate picture.

“Having testing available and clearly communicating this to customers was also found to have de-escalated situations – where tested drinks came back negative – and generally provided reassurance to customers who had spiking concerns.

“We believe the widespread implementation of these measures – to complement existing routine duty of care measures – is an important step in making sure everyone can enjoy a night out safely and without fear, as it should be. The Home Office should work with the industry as part of this inquiry, and also speak to campaign groups and listen to their concerns.”

Drink spiking at homes is on the increase – Credit: Alamy

According to the BBC, figures show that drink spiking has risen considerably since 2019, with 2,600 recorded cases.

Their research was backed by The Alcohol Education Trust, who say they’re hearing an anecdotal rise in drink spiking happening in places that don’t have CCTV or security staff.

The charity, who speak to more than 25,000 young people every year, say over half the spiking instances they hear about happen in places where people’s guards are down.