Home Secretary vows to 'hold perpetrators to account' by updating law on spiking

The Home Office announced a number of measures in December to tackle spiking. Credit: PA

The Home Secretary has vowed to crack down on spiking as he said perpetrators will be “held to account” by changes in the law.

James Cleverly said the government is updating legislation to make it clear that spiking is a crime, as he visited officers during the first national week of action against spiking.

Spiking Intensification Week, which runs from March 18 to 24, aims to boost police investigations of the crime such as early reporting and police forensic testing.

Spiking is already illegal and happens when someone puts alcohol or drugs into another person’s drink or body without their knowledge or consent.

According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), forces receive 561 reports of spiking per month but it is believed to be underreported because of harmful “myths and stereotypes” against victims.

Mr Cleverly accompanied Sussex Police officers on Crawley High Street on Thursday. Credit: PA

Mr Cleverly told reporters: “The sad truth is we know this is a crime that has been habitually underreported, but we know it is very prevalent.

"We’ve had something in the region of 560 reported incidents per month. But as I said, we know that is underreporting.

“We know that we have to protect women and girls who are predominantly the victims of this crime type, which is why we’re taking this so seriously.”

Mr Cleverly accompanied Sussex Police officers on Crawley High Street on Thursday to see the work being done by forces to tackle the crime.

The visit comes as the Home Office announced a number of measures in December to tackle spiking, including training door staff in the night-time economy to spot perpetrators and investing in research into fast spiking test kits to help quick detection of spiking by police.

The cabinet minister added: “We know that with the drugs that are prevalent in spiking, that speed is of the essence.

“And of course, what we’re doing is we’re updating the legislation to make it clear and unambiguous that spiking is a crime. We prioritise the prevention of crimes against women and girls, and the people who perpetrate spiking will be held to account.”

The NPCC said all forces in England and Wales have taken part in the week of action, with some forces including Leicestershire Police, Humberside Police and West Mercia Police receiving a further cash boost for action such as increased street patrols.

In December, the Home Secretary was forced to apologised for reportedly making an "ironic joke" about spiking his wife's drink with a date rape drug.

Speaking to female guests at a Downing Street reception, Mr Cleverly said "a little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night" was "not really illegal if it's only a little bit", the Sunday Mirror reported at the time.

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