The counties of Cornwall and Devon have experienced a surge in drink spiking reports and police are giving urine test kits to bars to help stop the trend.
Drink spiking was reported 76 times in Devon and Cornwall in 2017, which was almost double the 39 cases in 2016 and 19 times as many in 2015 when only 4 cases were reported.
Police are warning people to be more vigilant and they are actively investigating why there is an increase in cases.
The Devon and Cornwall numbers appear to be representative of a trend taking place nationally as these kinds of incidents are rising.
A pilot scheme is being launched by police in Plymouth, which had the highest reported cases in the area, to help pinpoint what is actually taking place.
Officers are working closely together with bars and clubs by giving them urine-testing kit. This will help officers who are on the scene for a spiking report to gather evidence early in the process.
When combined with good CCTV, police will be in a position to identify potential offences and suspects much quicker.
How widespread is drink spiking in the UK?
Since 2015, drink spiking reports have increased over 2 fold across the UK, according to data from Freedom of Information requests made by Sky News. Loss of balance, lowered inhibitions, visual problems, vomiting and confusion are all symptoms of drink spiking.
A drink spiking conviction has a maximum prison term of 10 years.
Most cases of drink spiking are not believed to be reported to police.
The majority of people don’t report it because they are unsure of what happened and when they eventually realise what happened, they believe it is too late to make a report. The setting might also play a part in not reporting. For instance, if their drink was spiked at a private party, the victim might have problems filing a report.