Pubs and clubs that keep climbing could be closed


Bars and clubs with bad doping records should be required to improve if they want to renew their licenses, MPs said. According to a Home Affairs Committee report, not enough is being done to support victims and it will remain an ‘invisible crime’ unless steps are taken to improve awareness.

He said it was difficult to know the true extent because a culture of victim blaming and a lack of coordinated support meant many incidents went unreported. But creating a new criminal offense for doping, which the government is considering, would make victims more likely to come forward and tell perpetrators that such behavior will be punished.

The committee, which carried out a woodpecker survey earlier this year, said places where woodpeckers are more likely to occur, such as pubs, clubs and festivals, must be safe for everyone. Local authorities and licensing authorities must ensure venues have adequate security and trained staff to identify peak incidents, he said.

And venues with a poor track record of spikes and broader violence against women issues should have required improvement measures as part of their license renewal. MPs also said there was not enough data on the prevalence, location, method, perpetrators and their motivations, which is an obstacle to policing.

A public awareness campaign should stress the importance of reporting incidents to the police, but victims should also be able to come forward anonymously. According to a survey conducted by the committee, 84% of victims said they did not receive support after the first time they were doped, and 72% said they did not report the incident.

The questionnaire was completed by 1,895 victims and 1,413 witnesses between December 2021 and January 2022. Most victims were female, with 139 victims identifying as male and 21 people choosing “other”, and most respondents were under 25, although victims of all ages took part.

Nightclubs were the most common venue where spikes were reported to have taken place, followed by pubs and private parties. The committee said victims’ access to forensic tests is poor and that the government must mandate all police forces to provide rapid tests of a quality that can be used as evidence in court.

The government should commission research to help understand the motivations of attackers and improve attack prevention. The low number of successful prosecutions means there is no clear deterrent to spikers, so the government should look at the barriers that exist and devise strategies to overcome them.

Home Affairs Committee chair Dame Diana Johnson said victims are often left with feelings of ‘self-doubt and vulnerability’ as they have no idea what happened or who bit them. It’s not enough to tell people to put lids on their drinks or standardize taking out a test kit with you,” she said. “Everyone should have the right to go out and have fun without fear.

“The message must be sent to the authors that doping is absolutely unacceptable and will be punished.”

Safeguard Minister Rachel Maclean said: “Doping is a cowardly act that can ruin lives, so I welcome this report and will carefully consider each recommendation. The Home Secretary confirmed that the Home Office was examining how best to prepare for a specific criminal offense and asked the National Council of Chief Constables to urgently consider the extent and scale of the problem .

“We have already reclassified GHB and introduced harsher penalties for anyone found with the drug on them without cause. And don’t be afraid to legislate if it will help the police and the courts better solve the problem.


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