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Spiking laws to be modernised, Home Office says

17 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Plans to modernise spiking laws will be set out in the coming days, the UK Government has said.

Ministers have come under pressure to make needle and drink spiking a specific offence, with campaigners and opposition parties calling for tougher action to protect women.

While full details are not yet clear, the Home Office has said it will amend the Criminal Justice Bill and update the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 to make clear that spiking is illegal.

Spiking is when someone puts drugs into another person’s drink or directly into their body without their knowledge or consent.

Officials said there would also be separate statutory guidance that will provide a “clear” and “unequivocal” definition of spiking.


This is expected to take the form of an update to the guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “The public should be under no illusion – spiking is a serious offence and I urge anyone who suspects they have been a victim of this to contact the police now.”

The planned announcement comes amid the busy festive partygoing season.

The Home Office said the changes would form part of a wider package of measures to protect women and tackle spiking.


Mr Cleverly said: “This Government has already gone further than ever before to protect the public from harm, and ensuring that women and girls can live their lives free from fear is one of my top priorities as Home Secretary.”

Spiking is currently covered by several different areas of legislation but there is no single dedicated offence under which to prosecute perpetrators.

Nearly 5,000 cases of needle and drink spiking incidents were reported to police in England and Wales in the 12 months to September 2022, according to National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) figures.

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