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Judith welcomes victory on spiking - but says changes must go further

Judith has welcomed proposals to clarify the law on spiking following a lengthy campaign, but says more needs to be done to keep people safe.

Measures proposed by Government will see the wording of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 ‘modernised’ to remove ambiguity and ‘make it clear’ that the offence covers spiking in every form - but stops short of making spiking a specific, standalone offence in law.

The government’s announcements come just days after Judith led a cross-party debate in Parliament on spiking that highlighted that just 1 in 400 cases of spiking reported to police led to a criminal charge.

Reacting to the announcement, Judith welcomed the changes but said the government had missed a ‘clear opportunity’ to make the law fit for the 21st Century:

“I welcome any measures to tackle the awful crime of spiking, so I look forward to the Government’s amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill.”

“The National Police Chiefs’ Council has stated that a stand-alone offence would help it to understand the scale of the problem, enable a more accurate picture to be realised and allow enhanced support for victims.”

Making the announcement in Parliament, Safeguarding Minister Laura Farris MP thanked Judith for her work on spiking and acknowledged the devastating effects of the crime:

“By their very nature, spiking cases are complex. The work we have done tells us that there are particular challenges in identifying perpetrators and gathering evidence.”

Further measures announced include Home Office funding to research the effectiveness of rapid drink testing kits, support for police to roll out a spiking reporting and advice tool, and the introduction of training on spiking for door supervisors.

However, Judith raised concerns at the safeguarding ‘black hole’ at music festivals left behind by these measures, saying:

“It is welcome news that hundreds of door staff will be trained to change the response to spiking at every single level, but I am at a loss as to the logic for why the Government have not included training for staff at outdoor music festivals, where tens of thousands of under 18-year-olds attend, often camping out, and where private security firms are tasked with their safety.”

Speaking afterwards, Judith said:

“These are welcome first steps, and I am pleased that after years of campaigning, Government appears to finally be taking spiking seriously. However, the devil will be in the detail. Police must have the powers they need to effectively record and investigate these crimes, so that victims get the support the deserve and perpetrators feel the full consequences of the law.”


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