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GMP joins other forces nationwide to combat spiking in the region’s pubs and clubs

During Spiking Intensification Week, 18 – 24 March 2024, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) will be continuing work to combat spiking during the night-time economy (NTE) and to protect victims.

Spiking Intensification Week follows the publication of a statutory report into spiking at the end of 2023, focusing on the NTE and improving police investigations.

Officers from GMP will be patrolling town centres in plain clothes or with high visibility and will be joined by representatives from the local authority carrying out licensing visits, educating proprietors on spiking and what to do in the event a spiking incident happens. They will also be handing out spiking test kits, as well as prevention kits including bottle tops and glass sticks, to pass onto their patrons.

The Ask Angela scheme will also be promoted throughout the town centres. Ask Angela is a nationwide scheme, which was set up in 2016. This scheme enables anyone to discreetly ask for help from a member of staff at any venue if they feel unsafe, Ask Angela also plays an integral part in combatting Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

There are many common myths about spiking. Perpetrators might wrongly make you blame yourself or question whether what's happened is actually a crime. Spiking is a criminal act and one which can carry a custodial sentence if prosecuted.

Some may think that spiking is only carried out by strangers which in fact it can also be carried out by people who know them, such as friends or relatives. It also happens to men as well as women and isn’t discriminatory when it comes to race or age.

Another myth is that the drug used in spiking is odourless and colourless, when in fact many drugs used in spiking will make a drink taste and smell differently. It’s not always the drug commonly known as the ‘date rape’ drug used too. Cocaine, ecstasy, and ketamine have been known to be used to spike drinks in the past.

One of the biggest myths when it comes to spiking is that the police don’t take spiking seriously, so victims are reluctant to report it. Officers at GMP will always take it seriously and carry out proportionate investigations, looking to identify the people responsible. Whilst it gives the best possible chance of prosecution to report instances of spiking early, the dedication to locating and taking action against perpetrators does not change, even if some time has passed.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Buckthorpe, who is GMP’s lead throughout Spiking Intensification Week said: “As a Force, we are dedicated to identifying and taking positive action against those responsible for spiking, whilst protecting and supporting the victims of this cowardly crime.

“It is totally abhorrent and can have a significant, traumatic impact on victims, sometimes leaving them with long-lasting anxiety or distress. Whilst we apply prevention techniques throughout all boroughs, particularly within night-time economy as best practice, we are taking part in this dedicated week to raise the profile of this crime type even further.

“Our aim is to combat spiking force-wide, and we will be continuing the work we’re already doing, working closely with the licence holders of pubs and clubs, to prevent and reduce instances of spiking across Greater Manchester.

“We urge anyone who thinks they have been a victim of spiking to come forwards as soon as possible. It’s important that we are aware of incidents in order for us to pursue criminally on an individual basis, but also inform where best to patrol and where we can work even closer with licensees to prevent further occurrences.

“In the immediate if you or someone you know has been spiked in a licensed premises, speak with a member of the bar staff or manager who can be of assistance and call emergency services if you are unable to do so. Universities and their student unions situated within Greater Manchester also have initiatives and procedures in place around spiking.

“We are committed to the victims and witnesses of these crimes, and will provide support, whether this be through the NHS, Sexual Assault Referral Centres, GM Victim Support or other charities.”

Spiking incidents can be reported by dialling 101 or via the LiveChat function on our website www.gmp.police.uk. Information can be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and emergencies should be reported by calling 999.

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