REDDITCH MP Rachel Maclean has helped to secure a raft of new measures to tackle drink spiking.
The new package will see changes to the legislation, research into self-testing kits, more training for door staff and better education for young people, to raise awareness about the threat.
There will also be coordinated police action to crackdown on spiking during key weeks of the year – an approach that has proved successful in tackling other crimes, such as knife crime.
The step up to tackle spiking comes as the government prepares to clarify under the Criminal Justice Bill, that without any doubt, spiking is illegal.
It will be backed with separate guidance, set in law, to provide a clear, unequivocal definition of what spiking is.
Mrs Maclean started the Government’s work on this issue during her time as Minister for Safeguarding in the Home Office.
She said: “I was the responsible Minister in the Home Office when spiking by needle first came to light and we worked extensively to understand and analyse this new and disturbing phenomenon because it was mainly young women – and lots of students at their freshers week – who were affected.
“It was dismissed by some experts as hysteria, but I was determined we should tackle it because as a parent of a daughter who had been to university I know how worrying and disorienting that time away from home could be.
“Ever since then the Government has been committed to acting to keep women and girls safe, and after listening to countless victim testimonies, I also came to the conclusion we needed stronger action.
“Spiking can occur by needle and by drink and it is often under-reported or dismissed.
“Victims felt ignored and did not know where to go – and often they were blamed for going out and getting drunk or irresponsible behaviour.
“To me this was wrong. As a young woman I had my own fair share of behaving irresponsibly – it’s part of growing up and I wouldn’t want to take that away from any young person.
“The new measures announced by the Government will help to tackle spiking wherever it occurs and give victims confidence that their reports will be taken seriously, and action will be taken.”