'We don't know what's happening': Police boss admits no arrests for spiking

Chief inspector Ed Brown 

Chief inspector Ed Brown - Credit: Neil Perry

A police boss has admitted that no arrests have been made amid a spate of drink spiking attacks - with authorities clueless as to what drugs are being used on victims. 

Norfolk Police confirmed it has now received reports of eight incidents in both Norwich and Great Yarmouth either by injection or drink spiking at pubs, clubs and bars over the past week.

But despite the terrifying rise in the cowardly crime the constabulary is still without any firm leads. 

However, chief inspector Ed Brown did reveal cops are working closely with venues and surveillance is now tracking every single person that enters a nightlife destinations in the city.

Chief insp. Brown said: "At the moment - it is important to stress - we have not had any noxious substances recovered from the victims in these types of incidents in Norfolk so we do not know exactly what's happening.

"And that's part of the problem.

"From a toxicology perspective these drugs go through the system quite quickly so unless we get that early evidential capture then we are potentially not going to know which drugs are being used.

"People are feeling a scratch, a pin prick or something similar while they are in a nightclub or after they have left the nightclub and they have found a mark on their body.

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"They are not sure what it is and then they have reported it to the police, or gone straight to hospital." 

Chief inspector Ed Brown at the top of Prince of Wales Road 

Chief inspector Ed Brown at the top of Prince of Wales Road - Credit: Neil Perry

The police chief believes increased awareness through the media and social platforms is giving people more confidence to report incidents and enable investigations to be carried out.

Cops are working with venues to examine CCTV footage as well as Scannet, which captures the details of every person entering a nightclub or bar. 

Although the police chief admitted no suspects or offenders have been identified at this stage he stressed that police are working hard to follow up reports. 

Close up Image Of Man Drugging Woman's Drink In Bar

Spiking drinks carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. - Credit: Getty Images

Chief insp. Brown continued: "Many venues have got really good CCTV systems so that provides a  good investigative opportunity in response to reports we do see about spiking.

"If something happens we are going to have a reasonable idea of the people that were in that club and then be able to use the CCTV and other systems to track those offenders."

Ahead of the busy Halloween weekend, chief insp Brown is calling on people to look out for one another and themselves if they are heading out to enjoy the nightlife. 

He added: "We have a response plan in place to deal with drink spiking incidents with all officers in the constabulary whether they be uniformed frontline cops or our CID (Criminal Investigation Department) colleagues who follow up the investigation.

"We have got a good response plan to follow to maximise forensic and investigative opportunities. 

"The second part of that is from a preventative point of view. It is working with the pubs, clubs and bars to increase searching, to improve CCTV, increase that bystander awareness of things to look out for to make it a really hostile place for criminals." 

Reports to police have shown the victims are mainly women, but the issue has been known to affect men as well. 

City venues such as Cans 'N' Cocktails and Epic Studios have begun introducing foil-lined plastic lids - called StopTopps - as a preventative measure against the spiking. 

Chief insp Brown said venues can also consider bag and body searches as a condition of entry if it is appropriate to make people feel safe. 

He also advises people to be aware of anyone acting differently or on their own during the night. 

In response to the question of the motives behind the crime, chief insp Brown said: "I think it is too early to say to be honest. We could speculate and say is there a sexual motive behind it? Is it anti-social behaviour, or is it just people being awkward?

"We have seen people coming back out into the night-time economy after the pandemic, some for the first time so we are perhaps seeing a slightly different dynamic."

Further advice and help is available at www.drinkaware.co.uk.

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