Buzz can exclusively reveal that reported incidents of spiking dramatically increased between 2017 and 2021.
Dorset police received 101 reports of spiking in 2021- up from 27 reports in 2017.
Sixty six of the reported cases in 2021 resulted in no police action.
The figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information request submitted to Dorset Police.
A Dorset Police spokesperson told Buzz News: “Dorset Police takes all reports of spiking very seriously and following recent media attention, we have been working closely with night-time economy venues and local authorities to ensure the safety of all on a night out is of paramount importance.
“We have also increased the availability of early testing kits, in line with national best practice and in partnership with NHS colleagues.
“Investigations of this type are going to take some time to complete, however, we will do everything we can to investigate all reports of spiking that we receive and will support the victim throughout our enquiries.”
Former Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, told Buzz News this isn’t a new problem and the increase in reports could be due to awareness.
We can’t just stand by
He said: “It’s awareness of what’s going on which has increased the drive in reporting which is really good.
“Bournemouth was the first town in the country to receive a purple flag so nationally we are recognised as a town that looks out for people when they’re drinking.
“We can’t just stand by and watch this go on because it’s completely and utterly socially unacceptable.”
A victim’s account
Student Eve Partridge, 20, believes she was spiked in Bournemouth. She said: “I’m always careful with my drinks as I’m fully aware spiking is an issue.
“I was relatively sober and it still managed to happen. That’s what makes it so scary. “
Recalling as much as she could about how she felt on the night, Eve added: “The memory loss was so extreme that I don’t remember much apart from arriving at the club and waking up the next morning.
“It’s hard to speak up about things because people never fully believe you.”
Dawn Dines, founder of Stamp Out Spiking and Stop Topps, has been campaigning against drink spiking since 2005. Recently, she started a petition to make drink spiking a specific, notifiable criminal offence.
We need to be united to stop this
Dawn outlined the signs to look out for, including feeling drunk very quickly, chattering teeth, getting really hot and loss of bladder control.
She added: “I think all venues should be drink spike aware and they should go on a training course so that they know the symptoms and have an immediate call to action.
“It’s all about education. The more people who know exactly what to do, the more chance we have of catching the assailants.
“Don’t just look out for yourself and your friends, look out for everyone.
“We need to be united to stop this.”
How to protect yourself on a night out:
- Never leave your drink unattended.
- Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know.
- Keep an eye on your friends’ drinks.
- Stay away from situations that make you uncomfortable.
- If someone appears very intoxicated, do not leave them unattended or with a stranger, make sure they are safe.
- Let someone know where you are and what time you expect to be home, especially if you’re going on a date with someone you don’t know.
- Don’t give out too much information to someone you’ve just met, such as your address.
For help contact Dorset Police on: 01202 229084