Drug-spiking incidents reported to police have increased five-fold in five years while the proportion leading to a criminal charge has plummeted, shocking new figures revealed today.
More than 8,500 reports of spiking were made last year compared to 1,653 in 2018, according to data released by 39 forces that responded to a freedom of information request by a new Channel 4 documentary.
Yet there is no sign the epidemic is being countered by a rise in prosecutions, with the proportion of reports that led to criminal charges dropping from just one in 25 in 2018 to a minute one in 400 in 2022.
Women’s right’s campaigners today seized on the figures as yet more proof of a need to urgently change the law to make spiking someone’s drink a specific criminal offence.
Out of nearly 20,000 incidents of spiking in England and Wales over the five years there were only 54 times when a suspect was arrested and charged by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Only 13 forces responded to FOIs asking about the number of suspects who had been charged, meaning precise figures for the proportion of suspects charged are not currently available.
More than 8,500 reports of spiking were made last year to 39 police forces that responded to a freedom of information request. That compares to 1653 in 2018
Only 13 forces responded to FOIs asking about the number of suspects who had been charged, meaning precise figures for the proportion of suspects charged are not currently available
Havva Ramadan is among the victims of spiking to feature on Channel 4 documentary Untold: The Truth About Spiking.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain earlier this week, she said she was told by an office that police ‘wouldn’t do anything because nothing actually happened to me.’
In the documentary Ms Ramadan described how she was spiked on a night out after ‘some guy made it clear he liked me, I was talking to another guy, I could see he didn’t like it.’
She told GMB: ‘When you experience a trauma like that you just want it to go away – you want to feel safe as fast as possible.
‘So I didn’t feel safe going into an environment where people aren’t going to take me seriously and ask me questions that are going to accept me.’
The documentary, part of the Untold series, is advocating for a change in the law to make spiking a criminal offence.
At the moment prosecutors have to use other pieces of legislation, such as the Sexual Offences Act or Offences Against The Person Act.
The C4 documentary follows Kiss FM radio host Daisy Maskell, 23, as she has her drink spiked by Celia Morgan, a professor of psychopharmacology at Exeter University.
Havva Ramadan is among the victims of spiking to feature on Channel 4 documentary Untold: The Truth About Spiking. Appearing on Good Morning Britain, she said she was told by an office that police ‘wouldn’t do anything because nothing actually happened to me.
Professor Morgan used a limited amount of the drug to keep Daisy safe and ensure no lasting effects.
But Daisy was left struggling to walk without holding onto a nearby wall and admitted: ‘I am not in control of my body… I would be very, very vulnerable.’
After finishing the spiked drink, the reported admitted: ‘Right now, within the past 30 seconds, something’s just hit. I can feel a big difference.’
She was then seen struggling to walk in a straight line, revealing: ‘I feel really big. I’m clinging onto the wall as well. I don’t think I’ve ever – sorry, it’s hit me again.
‘I actually don’t think I’ve ever felt as out of it as I feel right now in terms of feeling so out of my body and so detached and detached from reality.
‘I am not in control of my body at all and if I was not in the situation that I’m in right now, I would be very, very vulnerable.’
Speaking about the reason she agreed to be spiked, Daisy said: ‘If I can show people what it might look like if you or your friend have been spiked, maybe more people will come forward, maybe more people will be believed, maybe we can prevent people from getting hurt, and find out whether the law is strong enough to stop this.’
During the Channel 4 documentary, Kiss FM radio host Daisy Maskell, 23, put her body on the line in order to shine a light on the dangers of drink spiking
During Untold: The Truth About Spiking, which is available to stream from today, Professor Celia Morgan – an expert in psychedelic drugs at the University of Exeter – spiked Daisy’s drink under laboratory conditions
Professor Morgan added: ‘People out there, have just got complete carelessness for other people’s lives.
‘And they have no idea of what is a dose that will lead to someone’s death, or permanent disability. So, that’s the thing that I find really deeply upsetting.’
Elsewhere in the programme Daisy met people whose lives have been shattered by becoming victims of spiking, none of whom have seen their attacker brought to justice.
She also heard from a police and crime commissioner about how her force is focusing on prevention, as it is so hard to prove the crime with the current laws, and from a barrister who argued there is a powerful case to bring in a new law specifically making spiking illegal – both to help the police prosecute and to act as a specific deterrent.
Barrister Charlotte Proudman, who is interviewed in the show, told the Guardian: ‘At the moment the law is not a deterrent because there’s no specific criminal offence for spiking, so it’s not recognised as a crime in and of itself in its own right.
The Home Office was ordered by Parliament to write a report about the steps it’s taken – or intends to take – to tackle spiking.
Professor Morgan issued a limited amount of the drug to keep Daisy safe and ensure no lasting effects. Pictured, Doctors watch Daisy to make sure she’s safe during the experiment
But Daisy (pictured) was left struggling to walk without holding onto a nearby wall and admitted: ‘I am not in control of my body… I would be very, very vulnerable.’
The report was due in April this year. Six months after the deadline, it has yet to appear.
A Home Office spokesman told UNTOLD: ‘Spiking is an abhorrent act that is already illegal and anyone who commits this crime faces up to ten years behind bars.
‘There has been a delay to the publication of the statutory report. We aim to publish this later in the Autumn.
‘We have invested [in] initiatives to tackle drink spiking, campaigns to raise awareness, and training for bar staff.
‘We have rolled out spiking-specific communications and campaign activity at summer music festivals and, currently, at universities across the UK.’