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Unapproved spiking kits provide ‘victims with false sense of security’

Government urges forensic analysis in lab through accredited rapid police tests being piloted by Eurofins

The government has urged anyone who suspect that they or someone they know has been a victim of spiking to contact the police in order to collect a sample for forensic analysis via an approved test.

In its response to a Home Affairs Committee report on spiking the government said the use of different spiking kits across the country many supplied by night time economy venues meant that there is no single test kit that reports to cover the number of drugs that have been identified as potential candidates for spiking.

It adds: “We therefore feel that an evaluation of pilots which only utilise non-lab-based test kits could provide potential victims with a false sense of security given the lack of any industry certification or validation to account for the efficacy of such test kits.

“We therefore urge anyone who suspect that they or someone around them have been spiked to contact the police in order to collect a sample for forensic analysis through an accredited testing capability, such as that established by law enforcement and forensic provider Eurofins. To date, this remains the only method which will provide certainty in sample analysis.”

Police forces partnership with Eurofins, established an accredited rapid urine testing service in response to the outbreak of needle spiking in Autumn 2021.

This service will be in place throughout 2022, with the intention of developing a better service in 2023.

This capability is both faster and less expensive than a full toxicology submission, enabling police to provide assurance and additional support to victims more quickly than they would usually be able to.

Results from the rapid testing capability can be upgraded
for evidential purposes. This capability, while initially open only to samples from reports of needle spiking, has been open to all spiking samples since January 2022.

There is currently a limited evaluation being carried out over the summer on a urine test kit used in some police forces. The project is likely to assess the kit’s efficacy in detecting a number of substances that have been identified as part of the Eurofins rapid testing capability.

In its report the committee found that the creation of a specific criminal offence of spiking could help deter offenders and show it was a crime taken seriously. 

In response the government says it is committed to updating Parliament on whether it intends to introduce a specific criminal offence for spiking within six months of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act receiving Royal Assent.

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