'Promises must not be lip service': Plea for action to stamp out spiking

Police monitoring Prince of Wales Road in Norwich for reports of drink spiking

Police monitoring Prince of Wales Road in Norwich for reports of drink spiking - Credit: Archant

Women battling to feel safe in their own cities have said pledges from local and central government cannot be “lip service” in the fight against drink spikers.  

This week Norwich City Council put forward a series of measures it says will help combat the crime. 

It comes after 51 spiking reports in Norwich were filed to Norfolk Police during October and November 2021. 

The council promised to push venues for more routine searches and increasing cash to tackle offending.  

But Lorna Street, 25, said that too much is being left to charities and that central government needs to make the crime a priority.  

Lorna Street says that support is the best way to tackle the issue of spiking

Lorna Street says that support - whether from charities, the government or members of the general public - is the best way to tackle the issue of spiking - Credit: Lorna Street

The Stamp Out Spiking ambassador, who was spiked when she was 18, said: “Having the conversation is definitely a start.  

“People who feel comfortable talking about spiking will feel comfortable coming forward and reporting these problems.  

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“That's what needs to happen so we know how many people are affected and where to target the education.” 

But she added: "Everyone has to get involved and obviously the government do need to make changes.  

Lorna Street at the Stamp Out Spiking event at Voodoo Daddy's Showroom in Timberhill, Norwich on January 13

Lorna Street at the Stamp Out Spiking event at Voodoo Daddy's Showroom in Timberhill, Norwich on January 13 - Credit: Oliver Hosier

“I've spoken to venues about body searches and detectors that you can walk through. Two minutes of searching can save someone from a lifetime of trauma." 

Earlier this month she organised a fundraising event in aid of Stamp Out Spiking, raising £1,000 which will be funnelled directly back into making Norwich a safer place. 

Founder Dawn Dines said: "We want to see if the council might match fund the money we raised or put in some additional funds. 

“We want to use it to train up as many bar staff, security staff, and people involved in the night time economy as possible. 

Protesters took to Prince of Wales Road last night to make a stand against the rise in drink spiking

Protesters took to Prince of Wales Road last night to make a stand against the rise in drink spiking - Credit: Archant

“This crime has no prejudice whatsoever, so we will be looking to see what sort of funding that the local safety partnership teams and the police can give. We know that Norwich is particularly bad for drink spiking compared to the rest of the UK." 

She added that a Stamp Out Spiking national survey revealed that 97pc of victims did not report that they had been spiked. 

She said: "I know this crime inside out. There's a difference between someone who's had too much to drink and having their drink spiked. This is a clear call to action. 

"We really need help and from our government, too. The more people who are united against this crime, the more chance we have of actually stamping it out." 

Dawn added that there is a plethora of pools of money that could - and should - be shared to eradicate spiking once and for all. 

Young Labour's Jess Barnard helped organise the Ketts Rebellion anti-spiking protest in Prince of Wales Road in November 2021

Young Labour's chairwoman Jess Barnard, who helped organise the Ketts Rebellion anti-spiking protest in Prince of Wales Road in November 2021 - Credit: Jess Barnard

Young Labour chairwoman Jess Barnard helped organise Ketts Rebellion's anti-spiking protest in Prince of Wales Road back in November. 

The event demanded action over drink and needle spiking from both police and club owners. 

It came off the back of the weekend of October 25 when five people in the Prince of Wales Road reported being spiked by drugs or needles. 

Jess said: “The promises can’t be lip service. It needs to be taken seriously.  

"I think it's really important that when plans are put in place they're talking to women and LGBQT+ people who have been affected and asking people what would make them feel safer.” 

She added: "Often there's an assumption that more police is going to make us feel safer but that might not be the case for everyone – some women might not feel comfortable coming forwards.  

“The issue is much wider than just policing. There's a culture of misogyny and men thinking it's okay to attack women.  

“There's a lack of awareness about sexual violence and then impact that it has.  

“There needs to be a look at what the community response is to this problem.  

“It's not just about punishment and criminalising an action, it's about how to prevent it in the first place."