In light of the recent drink spiking incidents, we interviewed a few people around Oxford Street in London to get their opinions on the issue.
Dina and Ava, students from Paris, said that they were shocked to see that incidents like these take place so often across the city. Talking about her own experience Dina said: “I was very anxious when I went out yesterday. I kept checking my bag and who is behind me and near me and why they are near me.” They said to ensure that such incidents don’t happen bars and pubs must check everyone’s bags before letting them enter and have special cups or glasses with a lid or covering.
Molly Greenslade a trainee psychologist from London whose friends were spiked said: “Incidents like these put me off from going out. I went out on Halloween and felt very uncomfortable especially in a big city like London and I think that they should be doing more to prevent this.”
She said that if people can easily sneak in needles into a bar or a pub, they need to improve their security and search everyone thoroughly before letting them enter.
When asked about the issue, Scott Barnes, Deputy Manager of the All Bar One, a pub on Regent Street said: “We should make sure that everyone is vigilant on the floor. With us we have a lot of floor staff making sure no drinks are left unattended, watching who is coming in and out of the building, and making sure that if we do notice anything we take the drinks away completely.”
In response to increasing incidents, several girls and students have decided to boycott nightclubs and pubs. Beata, the manager of The Cock Tavern, a pub in Central London said she hasn’t noticed any particular difference, instead, the amount of customers is rising and they’ve been getting busier and busier.
A Parliament petition to make it ‘a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry’, is proposed and has been signed by 160,000 people.
When asked if she supports the petition and people being searched before entering pubs Beata said: “From our perspective, it will be hard to do. Firstly, we don’t have the right to search anyone, only the Police at the moment is allowed to do it.” Comparing the issue she said: “When we worked with Covid Restrictions, we were told to take personal details from people which was controversial as pubs don’t have the right to take personal details from people. This is much like that”
In response to the incidents, the University of Westminster Student Union and the University put out a joint statement saying the following: “University of Westminster Students’ Union (UWSU) and the University of Westminster are appalled by reports that instances of spiking are happening anywhere, especially targeting students. This is abhorrent behaviour, and our position is that instances of spiking are acts of sexual violence and harassment, with appalling intentions behind them. We accept that neither awareness nor intervention from intended victims can change the underlying issue of violent and degrading intentions from the perpetrator.”