We know that many of you are concerned right now about the rise in reports of drink spiking both here in Birmingham and across the UK. We’re concerned too!
As your Guild of Students, your safety on nights out is extremely important to us; whether that’s you being and feeling safe at one of our events, at a venue in Selly Oak, or in the city centre. We recognise the importance of increasing awareness, letting you know what we’re doing to keep you safe as well as working with you to see what else we can do to improve your safety. We really are committed to ensuring that all of our students feel safe on nights out.
Drink spiking is where something is added to your drink, usually either alcohol or drugs, without your knowledge. This is usually done to make the victim more vulnerable to things including theft, sexual assault or it can be seen as an attempted joke.
There are increased reports right now of people being injected with drugs, via needles, without their knowledge or consent. It’s believed that the same drugs are being used, as those used in drink spiking, as the symptoms are very similar.
It’s very serious and it is illegal to spike someone’s drink or inject them without their knowledge. The maximum sentence for someone found guilty of drink spiking is 10 years in prison (and University expulsion if they are a Birmingham student). Spiking by injection is still so new, that nobody has yet been charged. Victims of drink and needle spiking are not the ones at fault and the responsibility for it, lies solely with the perpetrators.
No, drink spiking and spiking by injection can happen to anyone; no matter your gender, age, sexual orientation, or whether you’re out at a pub, club or a house party. A quarter of victims of spiking are men.
The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with. Your symptoms could include:
If you or a friend start to feel strange or more drunk than you should be, then get help straight away.
If you or your friends are showing any of symptoms of drink spiking, there are a few things you can do:
We’ve already joined with students’ unions from Birmingham City University and Aston University, to write a letter asking all night time venues across Birmingham to improve staff training on how to recognise the signs of drink spiking and how to support victims, provide free of charge anti-spiking equipment and testing kits, and not only to report all perpetrators to the Police, but also to ban them from their venue, for life.
Across our social media channels, website and in our venue, we are sharing resources on how to recognise the signs of drink spiking, and what to do if you or your friends suspect you’ve been spiked.
After listening to your concerns and carrying out a full review of our safety measures, we have created a safety action plan to show you exactly what we’re doing to keep you safe at our club nights:
We would like to assure you that the Guild has a zero tolerance policy towards spiking! That means that anyone caught spiking within our venue will be banned and reported to the Police and University. If you report a spiking incident to us we will offer you our full support while we carry out an investigation. Any reports of spiking by injection will be reported directly to the Police.
Bottle & Drinks covers:
Chill Out Room:
Drink Testing Kits:
Getting You Home Safely:
Staff & Venue:
After listening to your suggestions for the safety measures you’ve told us you would like to see introduced at our events to make you feel safer, we’re also investigating the following:
Some of these measures will mean upgrades to our systems and will take time to implement. We are working as fast as we can on them and we’ll provide you with updates on new safety measures, as soon as we have them.
If you’d like to talk to us about a safety concern you have, please contact us at email@example.com.
Two months on from our focused work on spiking and we’ve investigated 253 reports. That’s between 1 October and 28 November.
Not all of these cases happened over that time. The increased news coverage, people talking about it more openly and knowing they will be believed, has resulted in people telling us about crimes that happened as far back as 2018.
Tell us if you think you've been spiked
Of the 253 reports, 180 were women, 51 were men and 22 did not specify their gender. Victims were aged between 14 and 80 with crimes being recorded in all areas of the West Midlands. The majority of people believe they were spiked in a pub or club. The peak days for reports are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Despite working closely with venues, reviewing CCTV of crime scenes and speaking to witnesses, we are yet to find any independent evidence that could progress any of our investigations. No syringes have been found at bars either during searches on entry or at the end of the night.
Venues have responded really well to the situation with most now carrying out enhanced ID and security checks, and other safety measures including briefing staff, changing layouts to prevent people putting their drinks down and removing any unattended drinks straight away. Many are also offering free bottle stops, lids for glasses and even drug test strips for people who are really worried.
We’re having discussions with those places that we think could be doing more.
Of the 253 reports, five people said they had their cigarettes spiked, 182 said their drinks had been tampered with, 51 said they were injected and 15 didn’t know how they’d been drugged.
In the majority of cases, spiking was the only crime but robberies, rapes, sexual assaults and other crimes have also been linked to a small number of the reports.
One of our drug testing kits
Between 22 and 28 November we received 34 reports of spiking with 20 of them taking place that week. The other 14 were non-recent offences. All of these are included in our total reports.
Our multi drug test kits were used in 11 of last week’s cases.
Nine of the tests were negative, one was positive for cocaine and another was positive for cannabis.
Another person had a negative blood test at hospital. Some people do not want to take a test, even though we never use the tests to take action against people who have used drugs. Some people can’t provide a sample and non-recent reports are not suitable for testing.
If you think you’ve been spiked, get help straight way. Your unique circumstances will determine if you need to get medical help and how urgent that is. You may decide to get medical help before you call us. That’s OK.
If you know that the offender is still at the scene, call us on 999. To report all other spiking concerns, message us via Live Chat on our website west-midlands.police.uk, visit a police station or call us on 101.
174 x Female
51 x Male
22 x Unspecified
4 x cigarette
15 x unknown
48 x needle
180 x drink
167 x Birmingham
18 x Coventry
8 x Dudley
14 x Sandwell
12 x Solihull
6 x Walsall
20 x Wolverhampton
2 x unknown