We want to make it clear that spiking is never the fault of the victim, it is always the fault of the perpetrator. Drink spiking is a criminal offence, and we are committed to working together to keep our students safe.
Kent Police have worked with key licenced trade venues to ensure that all reports of spiking are reported to the police so that appropriate action can be taken. Venues have also been taking measures to protect their customers including reviewing or establishing spiking policies, testing empty glasses, providing drink coverings and increasing searches before entry. Venues with Best Bar None Accreditation are venues that have been measured against criteria for keeping customers safe.
Drink covers are available at venues throughout the city behind the bar, or you can get these from university reception areas (including accommodation receptions and St. Georges for Canterbury Christ Church University and at the Mandela Building for the University of Kent) or from the Street Pastors.
We take reports of spiking very seriously and provide support for any students who have witnessed or experienced spiking. Being spiked can be a distressing and frightening experience, we are here to support you if you ever experience spiking.
What is spiking?
‘Spiking’ is when someone puts alcohol or drugs into another person’s drink or their body without their knowledge and/or consent.
Spiking is a serious criminal offence carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison in England and Wales.
What does spiking look like?
There are many different substances that can be used to spike someone, from alcohols to a range of drugs. Whilst there are some indications that a drink may have been spiked, often this is not the case. If in doubt do not finish the drink, pass this to the bar staff who will be able to test the drink as part of a police report. In cases where there is a visible indication of spiking, tell-tale signs of spiking may include:
- Excessive bubbles
- A cloudy drink
- A strange or unexpected taste
- If the colour has changed or appears mixed
- If the ice sinks
- There could be no change in your drink at all
Indications that you may have been spiked include:
- Feeling drunk after drinking very little
- Feeling dizzy, faint or confused
- Passing out or vomiting
- Impaired vision or speech
Whilst spiking is always the fault of the perpetrator, there are steps you can take to stay safe:
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- Use a cup cover, bottle cap or “spikey” where possible.
- Try and make sure that you stay with your friends or people you know.
If you are concerned that a friend may have been spiked try to stay calm. Here are some steps you can take:
- Try to prevent your friend from consuming alcohol if you are concerned that they have been spiked.
- Try not let them leave the venue alone or with someone you don’t know or trust.
- Get them to a safe space and keep them talking.
- Go to the bar staff and alert them. You can do this by asking for ‘Angela’. They will ask you about your situation and will call you and your friend a taxi or help you discreetly – without drawing attention to it.
- Call the police or an ambulance, and report that you have been spiked, they will be able to send support and get you to the nearest A&E department if deemed necessary for their safety.
- If you can, take them to the nearest A&E department and tell the medical staff that you think they have been spiked.
- Stay with them until the drugs or alcohol have fully left their system. It’s likely that this will be the following day, but it is important to stay with them should they be unable to look after themselves in case their symptoms get worse.
- Take note of the time and areas where you and your friend had been. This can help in getting evidence from CCTV if the spiking took place in a public venue.
If you are ever thinking of spiking someone’s drink, you should know:
- Drink spiking is illegal and carries a sentence of up to ten years in prison. This means that slipping alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink is against the law, even if the drink is not consumed or the person is not harmed.
- Spiking includes giving people a larger serving of alcohol than they have asked for, or you have told them a smaller quantity is present (for example, giving someone a double or treble serving of a spirit instead of a single)