Only seven per cent of 'spiking' cases resulted in positive drugs test

Only seven per cent of 'spiking' cases resulted in positive drugs test

December 23, 2021

Only seven per cent of ‘spiking victims’ in West Midlands had knock-out drug in system when tested, police reveal

  • Report found seven per cent of ‘spiked’ drinks resulted in positive drugs test
  • The report was carried out by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Found that spiking cases surged in recent months due to ‘heightened awareness’

Only seven per cent of drinks that were reportedly spiked in the West Midlands resulted in a positive drugs test, police have said.

A report by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner found that spiking cases have surged in recent months due to ‘heightened awareness’ of the issue, with 95 offences recorded in November.

Figures also showed that spiking offences made up more than one in 10 of all crimes classed as ‘violence with injury’. 

However only seven per cent of them resulted in a positive drugs test, according to findings. 

West Midlands Police has said it has been consulting scientists in a bid to understand spiking.

It comes amid a nationwide spiking ‘epidemic’ in recent months that has prompted backlash from students and nightclubs.

People take to the streets with banners following a surge in drink spiking cases in Manchester

The latest police report read: ‘Only seven per cent of them resulted in a positive drugs test (albeit there may be factors such as alcohol spiking that would not necessarily indicate).

‘These offences are recorded far more frequently without supporting evidence or information and there will undoubtedly be cases where over consumption played a part or a desire to not admit to taking illegal substances.’            

Detective Superintendent Sean Phillips, of the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: ‘I want to be clear and leave people in no doubt about our response to spiking reports. 

‘Spiking is a serious crime and we investigate every case. I want people to talk to us if they think they’ve been spiked.

‘Our new rapid drug test kits are proving popular with casualties and are giving people the answers they need, fast. But they’re not the only tool we have. We’re working closely with bars and others to improve safety and people will see that from the extra searches and ID checks.’

In the report, West Midlands Police said the launch of a new software system had led to an increase in recorded crime of four per cent.

It also said that knife crime is now recorded when someone is reportedly spotted with a knife, even if the person is never located by officers.    

In October aspiring police officer Rhiannon Smith, 19, described how her pulse stopped and friends performed CPR on her for 20 minutes after she was allegedly spiked in a nightclub in Ormskirk, Lancashire.

Miss Smith, 19, said she drank three single vodka Red Bulls at Alpine Club Lodge in Ormskirk when her hearing suddenly became muffled and the room began spinning.

When she was taken home by friends she claimed they saw her lips were blue, her pulse had ‘stopped’ and she was only taking breaths every 20 seconds, and called 999.

Emergency responders ordered them to start ‘life-saving’ chest compressions, which they did for 20 minutes, before she was rushed to hospital by ambulance.

Hundreds of people take to the street in Manchester in protest amid a rise in drink spiking cases 

Rhiannon Smith, 19, (left, with her friend Jennie Clegg-Gibson, 21) said she drank three single vodka Red Bulls at Alpine Club Lodge in Ormskirk, Lancashire, on October 22 when her hearing suddenly became muffled and the room began spinning

Teenager, Mia Robertson, 18, from Grimsby needed CPR after a night in October

After waking up in Southport and Formby District General A&E around 4am the next day Miss Smith said she was shocked to hear medics tell her ‘she’d just drank too much’ without running urine tests. 

The teenager, from Rhyl, North Wales, said: ‘I feel lucky to be alive. I think I’m still in denial about the whole situation and I don’t think it’s sunk in that it happened. 

Meanwhile teenager Mia Robertson, 18, from Grimsby, needed CPR after she was allegedly spiked in Cleethorpes.

Ms Robertson told the Grimsby Live: ‘We entered a club and got a drink then headed to the smoking area. Whilst I was stood there, my legs began to go numb and one of my friends had to support me.

‘They sat me down and said my eyes had gone into the back of my head, at which point they carried me out.

‘Apparently I was laid unconscious on the floor and they couldn’t find my pulse so called an ambulance. I was given CPR then rushed to Diana Princess of Wales hospital.’ 

In October, women across the UK took a stand and boycotted bars and nightclubs to demand venues to do more to protect revellers from spiking.

The ‘Girls Night In’ movement took place in several cities over two weeks amid reports that young women were being spiked at nightclubs.

Earlier this year the Home Secretary Priti Patel demanded an urgent update from police investigating the scale of the UK’s ‘spiking epidemic’.

Police chiefs were also tasked by the Commons Home Affairs Committee to urgently provide more information on their assessment of the scale of the problem after reports of incidents in several parts of the country, including Nottingham, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Groups from more than 30 universities around the UK also joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of nightclubs, with campaigners seeking ‘tangible’ changes to make them safer, such as covers/stoppers for drinks, better training for staff and more rigorous searches of clubbers.          

Almost 200 drink spiking incident reported over the past two months 

Almost 200 drink spiking incidents have been reported to police forces across the UK over the past two months.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there have been 198 confirmed reports of drink spiking in September and October across various parts of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus 24 reports of some form of injection.

On Friday afternoon, the NPCC said there were around 140 confirmed reports of drink spiking, but this figure was revised after more data was received.

It said the number included both men and women, although the majority of cases featured young women.

Alleged offences have taken place at licensed premises and private parties.

The 198 figure is based on data received from 40 police forces, and the NPCC said it is still to receive data from five forces which it expects over the weekend.

London: 58 reports of drink spiking

The NPCC said 58 of the 198 reports of drink spiking were made to the Metropolitan Police.

The NPCC lead for drugs, Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin, said: ‘Clearly these reports are very concerning.

‘We are working at pace with forces, law enforcement agencies such as the NCA and other partners including the Home Office and universities to understand the scale of offending, establish any links between the allegations and ultimately bring any identified offenders to justice.’

Nottingham: 32 reports of spiked drinks and 15 of spiking involving needles in recent weeks

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to administer poison in connection with a spate of reported drink-spiking incidents involving needles in Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire Police said the men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested after receiving information from a member of the public on Wednesday, following a general appeal for help from a senior officer.

The force said both had been arrested ‘on suspicion of conspiracy to administer poison with intent to injure, annoy or aggrieve’, and placed in police custody.

The arrests are not being linked to any specific allegation of spiking by a needle, or contamination of a drink.

Both men have since been released under investigation, the force said in an update.

Nottinghamshire Police said it will deploy extra officers to ensure people can enjoy a ‘safe night out’.  

A 20-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of drug offences and causing or administering a poison or noxious substance following three reports of women being spiked by injection at two nightclubs in the city within the last fortnight.   

Police Scotland: Nine reports of spikings, eight of those by injection

 A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of posts circulating on social media about spiking incidents involving injections in Scotland.

‘Officers are carrying out enquiries, and a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen areas are being investigated.

‘These do not appear to be linked.

‘We take all reports seriously and we would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of spiking in any form to contact Police via 101.’

West Midlands Police: One report of a woman being ‘spiked by injection’ 

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: ‘We’re aware of posts circulating on social media about drink spiking, particularly those involving injections.

‘At present we’ve had one report where the circumstances appear to match the description of someone being spiked by injection. However, it’s unclear exactly what’s happened and we’re in the process of trying to speak to the woman to gather more information.

‘A separate drink spiking incident involving a Birmingham-based university student is under investigation, and we’ve had a small number of reports from Birmingham city centre over the last few months.’   

Merseyside Police: Number of spiking incidents, five of which specifically relate to injection spiking

Detectives said that out of the five reports, three currently remain under investigation, including the incident on October 19.

Superintendent Diane Pownall said: ‘Liverpool is awarded Purple Flag status every year and is one of the safest cities in the UK. We know that people travel from far and wide to enjoy what is on offer here and we want that to continue.

‘In April we launched our proactive policing response, Operation Empower, where dedicated officers are tasked with identifying potential perpetrators who are displaying signs of predatory behaviour and to disrupt those who present a potential risk. 

‘Officers are also asked to be aware of anyone who may be vulnerable to ensure any immediate safeguarding concerns are met.’ 

South Wales Police: ‘A small number’ of reports

After Georgia Latham reported her drink was spiked a spokesman for South Wales Police said: ‘We have received a small number of reports from people who believe this might have happened to them and these are currently under investigation.

‘Our officers are working with licensed premises to alert them to spiking methods and asking them to be extra vigilant at this time.

‘We take all reports seriously and encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of spiking in any form to contact us.’    

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