Content warning: This article was included in our ‘Spiking Awareness’ print issue. It might contain some content that readers may be uncomfortable with.
With the recent increase in spiking incidents across the UK and Manchester, many students are feeling frustrated by the risks a simple night out may pose. For weeks, the news, authorities and social media platforms have been reporting the surge of spiking incidents, ranging from drugs dropped in drinks to claims of drugs being injected. The University of Manchester and Greater Manchester Police have released their responses in statements regarding student safety.
A University of Manchester spokesperson said:
“The safety and wellbeing of our students is always of the utmost importance to us and any reports of an individual having their drinks spiked is always alarming to hear.
“We understand the extreme seriousness of such incidents and would encourage any student who believes they have been spiked to seek medical attention if needed, and report it to the police as soon as they can. Reports of drink spiking will be taken seriously.
“If this happens on campus we urge students to contact security for immediate support through either the SafeZone app, or by calling the number on the back of their student card. Students can also tell us via our Report and Support platform and a member of our Advice and Response team will respond as a matter of urgency to support them.
“As a University, we are working with various agencies including student partners and Greater Manchester Police as part of the Sexual Violence Action Network for Students on this issue.”
Photo: Vita Student @ Flickr
Greater Manchester Police made a statement on 8th October 2021 regarding the ongoing situation, stating that: “Detectives are investigating several reports of drinks being spiked in the Fallowfield area of Manchester.”
Detective Inspector John Robb of the GMP also highlighted that:
“Drink spiking is a horrible experience for anyone, but we are starting to see that women are being targeted in this area and therefore we will be increasing our presence to help protect people and prevent these crimes.
“We encourage everyone on a night out to have fun, but remain alert and if anyone sees anything suspicious to report it to us right away.
“Whilst we will do all we can to tackle this, we recommend taking preventative measures too, such as not leaving your drink unattended and never accepting a drink that you haven’t seen being prepared.
“If you suspect you have been spiked, seek medical advice and report it to the police as soon as you can.
“Any reports we have of drink spiking will be taken seriously and the more information we have about these kind of incidents the more we can build a bigger picture and target those responsible.”
However, an emergency protest group, ‘End Spiking Now’ stated their reluctance to leave the situation in the hands of the police or nightclub security services, stating that “Promoters, bouncers and police do not keep us safe. We can only win safety if we demand it”.
In response, they organised a protest in St Peter’s square on the night of the ‘Girls Night In’ boycott, with over 600 people in attendance. The aim is to create a safe environment for all students, so that no one has to feel threatened on a night out. For more information on these movements, please see our article on Girls Night In.