A poll run by night-time economy safety charity, SafetyNet, has shown 99% of respondents hope Guernsey will follow the UK’s lead in modernising laws relating to spiking, with 1% saying they would need more information to make a decision.
The poll was taken after the UK’s Home Office announcement on Monday [18 December] that drink spiking laws would be modernised to include training door staff to stop potential perpetrators and spot signs that someone has been spiked, investing in testing kids, and the roll out of an online tool to make it easier for the public to report spiking anonymously.
The change in the law was largely driven by two decades of campaigning by Stamp Out Spiking Founder, Dawn Dines, who has been working with SafetyNet Chair, Poppy Murray, since 2021.
SafetyNet Chair, Poppy Murray (pictured), welcomed the news from the UK: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see that the UK has changed its stance on spiking and Dawn should be commended for her relentless efforts in achieving this. Unfortunately, the complexities of the current Guernsey law will, undoubtedly, be playing a role in the fact that there is a 0% conviction rate for spiking locally.
“I was not at all surprised that the respondents to our poll want to see Guernsey follow suit in modernising spiking laws. We know from talking to the public over the last two years that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of spiking, and a clear frustration at the misconception that this offence does not happen locally.”
In the five-year period up to November 2023, Guernsey Police received 90 reports of drink spiking, with no successful convictions. In the same period in the UK, spiking offences increased fivefold, while prosecution rates fell from 1 in 25 in 2018, to 1 in 400 in 2022.
Poppy continued: “Although there are no confirmed cases of spiking locally, I have met with Guernsey Police and discussed some of the reasons for this, which include some substances only being traceable for a short period of time and a lack of education on what the public should do if they suspect they have been spiked.
“SafetyNet has been approached with the argument that because there are no proven cases in Guernsey, spiking has never happened here. There are two prevailing views on the reason for Guernsey’s 0% conviction rate: either spiking is difficult to prove, or Guernsey is, for some reason, exempt from a crime that is committed globally. In my view, of the two options, it is much more likely that spiking is difficult to prove.”