According to figures obtained from 38 of the UK’s 45 police forces by Sky News, the number of reports including the words 'drink' and either 'spiking' or 'lacing' have more than doubled in the past three years – totalling 1,039 since 2015.
London’s Metropolitan Police recorded the highest number of cases in 2017 with 179 reports, an increase of 74% from the 2015 figure when 103 spiking incidents were recorded.
Moreover, Greater Manchester Police recorded a rise of 178%, up to 103 in 2017, from 37 in 2015.
However, victims told Sky News that the crime was under-reported, with incidents often reported under other crimes such as rape or assault as there is currently no Home Office crime code for spiking.
DI Daniel Boulter from Lincolnshire Police rape and sexual assault task force told Sky News that spiking attacks were vastly under-reported crimes given those targeted regularly get home safely with the help of a friend, member of bar staff or a taxi driver.
He added that, in his experience, police only deal with incidents in relation to sexual assault.
Since January, DI Boulter’s task force and Lincolnshire County Council has collaborated on the UK’s first city-wide drinks testing scheme in participating bars, meaning that anyone who fears their drink may have been spiked can request a Drink Detective kit, which allows them to instantly test their beverage for drugs.
Former Home Office toxicologist Jim Campbell who developed the kits described the figures revealed by Freedom of Information requests as “a drop in the ocean” arguing that victims often feel they have no evidence of spiking to present to the police.
He told Sky News: "Victims feel like they won't be believed. They rack their brains to figure out what happened the night before, but because of the effects of the drugs they can't remember. They need answers."