Más que 1,300 reports of needle spiking have been made to UK police forces in less than six months, MPs have heard.
Jason Harwin, the National Police Chiefs Council’s drugs lead, told a home affairs committee inquiry into spiking that police forces had received 1,382 reports of drug spiking using needles since September, comparado con 1,903 crimes that could be linked to spiking in 2019.
Forces were aware of 14 secondary offences, such as sexual assault or theft, potentially linked to needle spiking, él agregó.
Harwin, the Lincolnshire police deputy chief constable, called needle spiking “a new phenomenon” and said forces were receiving an unprecedented volume of calls. Universities and student unions were also raising concerns with police, él dijo.
“Students [están] saying ‘we are really worried about going into the night-time economy because these things are happening to our friends and colleagues’. We’ve not seen that before, the scale of that before," él dijo.
Dr Adrian Boyle, the head of emergency medicine for the NHS, previously told the inquiry there was “no hard, reliable data on the prevalence of spiking at the moment”, and said that in the majority of cases where people attended emergency departments with concerns about having been spiked, tests found no sedative drugs.
Dean Ames, the forensic drugs operations manager at the Metropolitan police, told the inquiry on Monday that analysis of 100 toxicology samples undertaken by the Met had found “a small number of positive suspected spiking incidents to date”.
Acerca de 30% of the samples contained a “controlled drug”, which could include prescribed medicines. After prescribed and self-administered drugs had been accounted for, the force had found one suspected spiking incident involving the sedating antihistamine diphenhydramine, another sample that included a chemical found in magic mushrooms, and a third containing GHB, which the committee separately heard was a viscous liquid that would be difficult to inject.
Joy Allen, the Durham police and crime commissioner, said that between October and December the force recorded 82 spiking incidences, con 25 related to injections. “It’s a significant number and demonstrates the trend," ella dijo, adding that a “staggering” number of people who were spiked did not feel comfortable reporting it.
Harwin said none of the cases of reported needle spiking had yet resulted in a prosecution, and police recognised that was “not enough”. Forces had to do more to stop offenders, make them realise they are committing a serious offence and change their behaviour, él dijo.
Victims or witnesses of spiking can share their experiences through the committee’s public survey, which is open until 31 enero.