William Eichler 05 July 2022

Licensing laws to be reviewed to fight ‘invisible crime’ of spiking

Licensing laws to be reviewed to fight ‘invisible crime’ of spiking image
Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com.

Local authority leaders have welcomed a Government decision to review the licensing laws to assess whether they are robust enough to tackle spiking.

The Government has accepted the majority of recommendations put forward by a Home Affairs Committee report that sets out new approaches to cracking down on the ‘invisible crime’ of spiking.

The committee called on the Government to do more to support victims by removing barriers to reporting and providing long-term physical and emotional support.

It also found that the creation of a specific criminal offence of spiking could help deter offenders and show it was a crime taken seriously.

In its response, the Government commited to working with police, local government and night-time industries to produce a ‘victim-first’ approach to combatting spiking.

In particular, it said it would review the guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 to consider whether licensing authorities should be required to consider the prevalence, prevention and reporting of sexual harassment and misconduct and gender-based violence in statements of local licensing policy.

Responding to the report, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Cllr Nesil Caliskan said: ‘This report is an encouraging step forward in our efforts to tackle the issue of spiking. We are pleased to see a greater focus on anti-spiking initiatives to raise awareness of the issue, encourage reporting and share best practice to prevent spiking from happening in the first place.

‘While the Police primarily lead the response to incidents of spiking, councils play a vital, preventative role by not only working with a range of partners to improve safeguarding measures within the night-time economy but through the licensing system to address specific concerns against a venue.

‘We look forward to working with the Government to build on the recommendations outlined in this report.’

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