Operation Vicinity coordinates our response and investigations into the recent reports of drink spiking in Lincoln.
Chief Insp Phil Baker said, “We are investigating eight reports so far this month of drink spiking, none of which involve spiking by injection. Whilst these are numbers are relatively low, we know that some incidents may go unreported and we urge anyone who suspects they may have been spiked to call us. One incident of this abhorrent crime is one incident too many and we would like to be clear that it carries a prison sentence of up to ten years.
“You should not have to ‘be vigilant’ when you are out but there are steps you can take; look out for each other, don’t leave your drinks, don’t accept drinks offered by people you don’t know or trust.
“If you suspect a friend has been spiked, stay with them and get medical attention for them if needed. Tell a member of staff and report it to us. The signs of someone having been spiked are lowered inhibitions, loss of balance, visual problems, confusion, nausea, vomiting and unconsciousness. Trust your instincts and if something doesn’t seem right, let us know. We are here to keep you safe and we will treat such allegations with the seriousness they deserve.
“We work closely with our bars, clubs and partners in Lincolnshire to make the venues as safe as possible and many of them operate the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme. If you feel intimidated, uneasy, harassed or uncomfortable because of someone in their venue, you can ask at the bar for Angela and they have protocols in place to address the situation and keep you safe. If you have concerns or suspicions about individuals or activity in any Lincolnshire venue, call us on 101 or 999 if it’s an emergency.”
Operation Vicinity includes work with partners, such as further education, the City of Lincoln Council, Pub Watch, Lincoln Big and the night time economy. Under this Operation we are supporting Officers in ensuring the response is swift and effective including getting early samples if needed to ascertain what substances have been used. As part of the response we are also increasing patrols and conducting additional liaison with venues. We are encouraging searches on entry, education of staff, CCTV monitoring and first aid support on site within our pubs and clubs. We support the work of some venues in offering foil drink toppers to prevent spiking and having facilities to test your drink if you think it’s been tampered with.
A 35-year-old man was arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning. This arrest was on suspicion of possession of controlled substance and attempt to apply or administer a stupefying or overpowering drug, matter or thing with intent thereby to enable him to commit an indictable offence. Our investigation has concluded that no offences had taken place so this man has been released with no further action. Substances in his possession were not illegal and would not have an incapacitating effect. Whilst there were no offences in this case, it does demonstrates we are working effectively in partnership with night time economy and CCTV, to act swiftly in relation to information received.
The issue of spiking has seen an increase as we have come out of lockdown. We believe we may be getting more reports following our highlighting of the issue along with the media coverage. We welcome increased reporting and we want anyone who suspects they may have been a victim to come forward.