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Reports of ‘spiking’ incidents - Cornwall response

Thursday 21 October 2021

Joint message from:
Devon & Cornwall Police
Falmouth University, University of Exeter
Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union

We are aware of and concerned about the reports of incidents of alleged spiking, either in drinks or by physical means, both locally and across the country.

Drink spiking is a crime, and where alleged incidents are flagged to the Police or to the University, these will be treated extremely seriously.

No-one should feel unsafe when enjoying a night out or be subjected to any action that places them at personal risk. Devon and Cornwall Police, local licensed premises and the Universities are working together to reinforce safety measures and schemes across the local area, and to ensure that the concerns within our student community are heard.

Falmouth and Penryn are very safe places to live, including for those who enjoy its various venues, bars and clubs. Reported incidents of spiking are low, not just locally but also across Devon and Cornwall. However, even one such incident is one too many.

Nevertheless, it is important to be transparent. There have been three cases of suspected drink spiking reported to the police in the local area in the seven weeks since 1 September. All three reported cases were outside of the forensic window for testing, however one report is still being investigated, through potential CCTV enquiries. None of these incidents involved a needle, or other sharp object.

Devon and Cornwall Police are encouraging anyone who believes they have experienced, or witnessed, an incident of this nature to contact them immediately so that they can investigate without delay. The Universities will provide all the necessary support for anyone who has been affected, via our Student Support Service.

As well as investigating reported incidents, most bars and pubs which the student population frequent have received training and equipment to help give reassurance to any student who may be concerned that their drink has been spiked.

Since the roll out of the testing equipment, numerous drink tests have been completed along with six urine tests. We are pleased to report that all of these tests have shown to be negative.

As a community, we believe that people should not be concerned about their safety when enjoying a night out. However, there are some things that you can choose to do to keep confident that you won’t be at risk.

You can pick up a drink spike kit from either Glasney Lodge, the Compass Helpdesk, Security Information Building or the Stannary Bar. You may also choose to use a drink-topper and you should never accept a drink from a stranger.

If you believe that your drink has been spiked while you are in a licensed premise, the staff are there to help. Take your drink to a member of staff, who should be able to test your drink in your presence. If you are no longer at the venue, please contact either the Police or university security as soon as possible, who can help you carry out a urine test and investigate further, where necessary.

You can also contact Student Services who will be able to offer support and advice.