Most cases of spiking don’t result in sexual assault or theft. But spiking can cause severe distress, emotional harm and anxiety. It can take a long time to recover from someone spiking you.
Spiking can put you at greater risk of injury, theft or assault. It is also dangerous to drive when someone has spiked you. This is why we treat spiking reports as seriously as those of violent, physical attacks.
It can be difficult to know if someone has spiked you. The symptoms vary depending on what someone has spiked you with. They can be similar to having excess alcohol. If you start to feel strange or more drunk than you thought you should be, seek help straight away. If you feel seriously unwell, call 999 or ask someone to get you emergency medical assistance.
There is no right or wrong way to feel. Some victims need emergency medical assistance, others don't. Whatever your situation, we are here for you.
Spiking is illegal and carries a sentence of up to ten years in prison. If a robbery, sexual assault or other crime took place, the sentence may be even longer.
Spiking offences are covered by more than one law. Most spiking cases are offences under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. This covers the use of harmful substances. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 covers cases where someone spikes a victim to sexually assault them.
Spiking is a high-impact crime that rightly gets a lot of publicity. The chances of someone spiking you on a night out or at a festival seem to be low. But not all victims of spiking report it to the police. Because of this we can’t be sure how many spiking victims there really are.
We would like to know about any spiking incident, no matter how long ago it happened. Our main concern is to make sure that the victim gets the support they need. Once the victim is well enough, we are here to support and investigate what happened.
Your spiking report enables us to launch this investigation and prevent others from being spiked. But even if someone spiked you more than seven days ago, it also helps us build a better picture of how much spiking really goes on and where. Even if we might not always be able to identify and find the person who spiked you.
Some drugs leave the body within 12 hours or much sooner. If you report to us as soon as possible, so we can take a sample that could be used for testing.
Other drugs stay in the body longer, so we might be able to test you up to seven days after the incident. But if someone spiked you more than seven days ago, we would still like you to report it. We may still be able to investigate and collect evidence.
If someone has spiked you with alcohol, there are other ways we can investigate what happened to you.
You can report attempted spiking to us, where a spiking attempt was disrupted before anyone became a victim. For example:
If a drink has an unexpected smell, taste or colour
If you notice a tablet or powder in a drink
If you see someone trying to spike a drink
If someone tried to inject you with drugs, but failed
If anyone is found to be in possession of illegal drugs that might be used to spike someone, you can report it.
If you notice someone behaving suspiciously around a group they clearly don’t know, you can tell security or a member of staff. You can also call us on 999 in an emergency or report it to give us information about someone who may be attempting to spike people.
Sometimes people are afraid to speak to the police. For example, because they took illegal drugs or were drinking alcohol before someone spiked them. Sometimes they have little or no recollection of what happened. They may have a criminal record and worry that the authorities won’t treat them fairly. They might worry that no one will believe them.
No matter who you are, how long ago the spiking happened or what took place, our prime concern is to give you the support you need. We listen, understand and guide you through the investigation process. We’ll do so at a pace you’re comfortable with, whilst respecting your wishes.