NTIA outraged by spiking not being an offence

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Not a specific offence: drinks spiking has been described as ‘abhorrent’ (credit: Getty/PeopleImages)
Not a specific offence: drinks spiking has been described as ‘abhorrent’ (credit: Getty/PeopleImages)

Related tags Legislation Licensing Health and safety Social responsibility

The Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) has voiced its anger after a Government inquiry decided there is no need for a specific offence to be introduced for drinks spiking.

In a letter published on 11 January 2023 from Conservative MP Sarah Dines, Under-Secretary of State for Safeguarding of United Kingdom, to the Home Affairs Committee, which was considering evidence over whether spiking should become a specific criminal offence, Dines stated: “We have concluded that there are already several offences which cover incidents of spiking, and we have not found any gap in the law that a new spiking offence would fill. We have therefore concluded that a new offence is not required and will not be bringing in new legislation.”

NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “We are extremely disappointed at the outcome of the Government’s inquiry and feel that while the suggestion is that the police and legislation are equipped to deal with these heinous crimes, the evidence and data gathering preceding October 2021 proved extremely hard to track and assess, with many of these crimes hidden against the crimes of sexual assault or robbery, particularly as the window of evidence gathering and reporting is so short.”

Clear process ask

Kill continued: “Some of the key asks by the association during the Home Affairs inquiry on spiking are the requirement for a national overt campaign targeting perpetrators, a national training scheme, and, most importantly, to create a clear process for these crimes to be managed by the police and operators in licensed and non-licensed environments, considering the importance of data in gaining a greater understanding of the characteristics of the people who carry out these crimes, prevalence, locations, etc.

“This is hugely short sighted by the Government and will, without doubt, still retain legacy issues in reporting and data gathering as seen pre-October 2021.”

Abhorrent crime

Dines admitted in the letter “spiking is an abhorrent crime” and there are no excuses for it and offenders should feel the “full force” of the law.

She added the Home Office will be consulting on amendments to statutory guidance of section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 and this could lead to “explicit reference to spiking, providing a Government definition of the crime, highlighting the existing offences that can be used to prosecute incidents of spiking, including examples of spiking and providing signposting to resources for venues.”

A study in May last year showed one in six students believed they had been the victim of a drinks spiking incident​ and incidents had led two thirds of those surveyed to avoid visiting nightclubs.


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