Police Scotland advice re spiking of drinks 2/12/2021

Police Scotland 2 December  2021

Guidance for the Licensed Trade/Student Unions

Spiking is when someone adds alcohol or drugs to another person’s drink without their knowledge or consent and is a criminal offence.

Spiking by injection is when a needle is used to inject drugs into a person without their knowledge or consent and is also a criminal offence.

As a licence holder, you will want to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your customers when they are within, and around, your premises.

There are a number of steps you can take to help avoid incidents occurring:

·         Train your staff to be aware of the possibility of drinks being spiked and encourage them to monitor unattended drinks

·         Train your staff to recognise the signs of a person who may have had their drink spiked – this includes suddenly appearing intoxicated, drowsiness, vomiting or being disorientated.

·         If anyone is acting suspiciously around unattended drinks challenge them or ask them to leave the premises immediately

·         If a customer reports that their drink tastes or smells unusual, don’t hesitate to replace the drink. If there is suspicion that the drink may have been spiked seize the drink and report it to the police immediately

·         If a customer reports having their drink spiked be mindful they may not be the only one. Alert all staff, increase vigilance and consider patrols, CCTV monitoring and lighting of your premises

·         If a customer appears drowsy, disorientated or showing signs of intoxication take action and assist – particularly those who may have become isolated or separated

·         Don’t hesitate to assist customers who appear suddenly intoxicated or disorientated – even if they are in the company of others

·         Be vigilant and prepared to intervene when strangers offer assistance to anyone within, or outside, your premises

·         Door stewards should be alert to persons loitering outside premises for no apparent reason and be prepared to challenge them

·         Consider adopting a policy of personal search as a condition of entry to your premises

·         Display clear signage informing customers that refusal to be searched will result in refusal of entry

·         Consider increased numbers of door stewards to ensure thorough searches of customers

·         Stewards should be encouraged to pay attention to items within wallets/purses/small pockets that could easily be missed. All searches should be carried out in a polite and professional manner.

·         All incidents of drink spiking or spiking by injection should be reported to the police at the earliest opportunity. This will ensure all investigative opportunities are maximised, evidence is preserved and the likelihood of bringing offenders to justice is increased

·         Licensed premises are in a position to make a significant contribution to the safety of their customers and enhance the experience for customers and staff through education and engagement.

Useful Links

Crew 2000 – Mind altering

Home – Fearless

Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership (saip.org.uk)

Suggested examples of media messaging

·         We want to keep people safe when they are enjoying a night out. We are working with Police Scotland on the issue of spiking and ensure (name of premises) is a safe space for all.

·         We are taking steps including increased searches, training for our staff to spot suspicious behaviour and we will also be ensuring anyone who appears vulnerable will be looked after. Together we are working to ensure there is no place for this illegal and dangerous behaviour at (name of premises)