There have been 1,382 spiking by needle reports in the UK since September, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), amid a wave of concern among clubbers about the new form of assault.
The NPCC asked police forces across the UK to tally up how many incidents involving spiking by injection have been reported to officers.
Giving evidence at the Home Affairs Committee on 26 December, Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin, Lead for drugs, National Police Chiefs’ Council, said it has recorded 1,382 reports of needle spiking “between September and to this week.”
The number in question relates to reported incidents, which means they may not have been confirmed yet by the police and officially recorded as crimes.
Mr Harwin said needle spiking is a UK-wide problem and police are not experiencing it elsewhere in the world - though according to the National Crime Agency reports were emerging that people in Australia had been spiked by injection over Christmas.
He said: “What we have seen certainly at the beginning of September is the emergence of the new phenomenon in the UK, which is around needle spiking.
“Again, it’s an assault. Again, no defined crime but again linked into similar crimes like administering substances, poisonous substances all the way through to potentially secondary offences where we obviously see sexual offences or theft.”
Forces are aware of a comparatively small number of secondary offences, such as sexual assault or theft, which have been linked to needle spiking.
‘Clearly there’s a UK issue’
In contrast, he said there were 1,903 crimes that could be related to spiking across the whole of 2019.
He said forces have started receiving an unprecedented volume of calls, and universities are also raising the issue.
He added: “In terms of prevalence we clearly have got an issue here in the UK.
“Importantly we recognise the impact it has on the victims and particularly those who have not got the confidence to come forward and we recognise the challenges in sometimes reporting the issues around spiking.
“Certainly from a law enforcement perspective the needle spiking has enhanced our understanding of what the issue is at the moment and certainly in terms of our joint response not just in law enforcement but with wider partnerships has enhanced since we’ve been on this since October.”
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