THERE have been 20 drink spiking incidents in Basingstoke over a period of 10 months, a request under the Freedom of Information act has revealed.

January 2022 saw the greatest number of incidents during this period with Hampshire Constabulary registering five cases within 30 days.

The Gazette also requested the Hampshire Constabulary for information regarding the number of persons being charged or cautioned, and how many investigations being closed without charging a person.

However, the Hampshire Constabulary refused to give it under the act and said the cost of finding this information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ stated in the regulations of the act.

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However, the force refused to give the information under the act and said the cost of finding this information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ stated in the regulations of the act.

A breakdown of the cases shows the number of drink spiking incidents in each month from July 2021 to April 2022:

•    July 2021 - 2
•    August 2021 - 4
•    September 2021 - 0
•    October 2021 - 1
•    November 2021 - 2
•    December 2021 - 2
•    January 2022 - 5
•    February 2022 - 3
•    March 2022 - 0
•    April 2022 - 1

'Spiking is a serious crime with serious consequences'

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Peter Boakes, Violence Against Women and Girls Co-ordinator for Hampshire Constabulary, said: “We recognise that drink spiking is a big concern for communities and we’ve been working tirelessly to further develop our understanding of spiking incidents in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight, while seeking to identify and relentlessly pursue perpetrators who commit these offences against women and girls.

“We take each and every report very seriously and are committed to tackling violence against women and girls perpetrated by men – all whilst protecting those who need our help – including those who have fallen victim to episodes of drink spiking whilst out enjoying the night-time economy that Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has to offer.

“Between July 2021 and April 2022 in Basingstoke there has been a total of 20 drink spiking-related reports to police. 

“That’s why our licensing teams, alongside Neighbourhood Policing Teams, have been working relentlessly with bars and clubs in cities in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight to educate all venues in those respective night-time economy areas, ensuring that they are all ‘spike aware’, and that staff are able to care for people who are reporting they have been spiked. All whilst urging those individuals to call the police if they believe that this crime has happened to them.

“We have also invested in multi-drug urine test kits – which give an immediate reading and help us obtain early evidence - for use across the whole of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and have been successfully utilised by officers when responding to drink spiking-related incidents.

“In addition, we have sought to provide the highest level of specialist training and support to our staff and officers to enable us to deliver the best service to the public and protect them from those responsible for committing such callous offences such as drink spiking.

“While the focus on this particular issue has been on women and girls, we’re not naive that men too can also be victims, and that is why our work in this area aims to improve the safety of everyone and the service received by all victims of crime.

“We’re absolutely clear that we do not tolerate drink spiking at all. Individuals who are going out intending to behave in this way will be found and will be stopped.

“If you’re concerned you or a friend have been spiked, call police straight away using 999. Our multi-drug testing kits can get the early evidence we need, and can provide valuable reassurance.

“Remember: Spiking is against the law. It’s a serious crime with serious consequences.”

38 incidents in Hampshire in three moths

Drink spiking reports increased nationally last year and this became a real concern for communities, increasing the level of fear amongst those attending bars, clubs and house parties.

Amongst that, there were also reports of people being spiked with a needle.

Raising the issue in her position as joint national lead for Victims at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones told the Home Affairs Committee last October that the scale of the issue is more significant than what the reporting says.

Between April and June 2022, Hampshire Constabulary has recorded 38 incidents of drink spiking, and five incidents of needle spiking.

Stamp Out Spiking is a charitable organisation established to tackle the increasing incidents of drink spiking across the UK and Worldwide. It was founded by a team, with professional experience in alcohol and drug awareness workshops, concentrating on welfare of young people.

Today, the statistics locally are much lower than the peak last year in October and November, but ‘Stamp Out Spiking’ say these crimes are under-reported, often because victims are unaware they have been spiked until the next day, or they feel they can’t make a report because they won’t be believed.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Terry Norton, said: “These crimes significantly affect the feelings of safety among women and girls. Men are victims too, however reports from women and girls make up the majority of incidents, and mostly affect an age group between 18-22-years-old.

“The Commissioner and I are absolutely resolute in our position on making the streets safer for young women, to ensure they feel safe going out, free from fear of violence, in public, private and hospitality venues.

“We know that Hampshire Constabulary’s Licensing Team have been working with bar management throughout the counties and invested widely in awareness, prevention and training on safeguarding victims, as well as targeting potential perpetrators, and continue to do so in order to reduce these crimes.

SEE ALSO: Woman accused of arson causing £11k damage appears at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court

“We are fully supporting Stamp Out Spiking and the international day to increase awareness of this issue.” 

Message to readers:

If you think you have been spiked, please report it to police. Common spiking symptoms are confusion, lack of coordination, slurred speech, nausea, hallucinations, vomiting, paranoia and unconsciousness. If you think you or a friend has been spiked, tell a member of staff straight away, seek medical attention, report it as soon as you can.  

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