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Judith demands tougher action on spiking

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Judith Cummins MP has called for spiking to be made a specific criminal offence.

Speaking in a debate in Parliament on the Prevention of Spiking Incidents Judith, raised serious concerns about the chronic under-reporting of spiking and the ‘black hole’ of safeguarding in outdoor music festivals.

Judith said: “Recent figures point to almost 5,000 spiking incidents in just one year. Those figures are shocking, but they are likely to be the tip of the iceberg.”

She then revealed that her own research of police forces shows just 10 spiking reports from a decade of festivals.

Judith continued: “It is unrealistic that it is just 10. The same data recorded 193 sexual offences, almost a third of which were against children under 18—the youngest was just 12 years old. The incidents were nearly exclusively against women and girls.”

“Festivals are huge pop-up towns, but the police and emergency service presence there is often minimal – police stick to traffic calming rather than policing as festival organisers provide event security and medical facilities.

Unfortunately, this can lead to gaps in reporting that mean spiking is never explored with the victim, and reporting is not easily available. Recent recommendations were made by the Home Affairs Committee to provide all staff working at festivals with safeguarding training but these proposals were not taken forward by the Government.

Responding, Tom Tugendhat, Minister for Security claimed that the government worked “closely with festivals and festival organisers and the outdoor events sector last summer to ensure that the necessary protocols, training, communications and guidance were in place ahead of events.”

Speaking afterwards, Judith said more needed to be done, concluding: “There is some good practice at some good festivals, more needs to be done to protect festival goers – and especially young people. Action is needed, including a specific criminal offence of spiking so that all the data of this offense is accurately recorded, and making sure that victims have the continuity of care and support they need.”

“Government needs act to protect young people from spiking – wherever this crime occurs.”


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