Spiking Next Steps

In October we announced a range of measures to help protect you from drink spiking within our venues. Since then, we’ve been working with our partners to develop a plan of action to tackle this pernicious crime and now want you to come on board and help shape our anti-spiking strategy.

In October we announced a range of measures to help protect you from drink spiking within our venues. Since then, we’ve been working with our partners to develop a plan of action to tackle this pernicious crime and now want you to come on board and help shape our anti-spiking strategy.

At 15:30 on Wednesday 12 January, we’ll be hosting an open conversation on student safety within Tommy’s Lounge. This is an opportunity to come down and have an honest discussion about safety on campus and within our venues and the action you want to see taken. We’ll provide some free refreshments and then post-event a working group will come together, including students, to progress the initiatives discussed.

Our goal is that this working group will give us a long-term platform to keep pushing the conversation around spiking, ensuring that perpetrators know that what they are doing is wrong and a crime, developing our processes and procedures so our venues are as safe as possible, and ensuring we make it as easy as possible to report incidents.

Helping to mitigate risks

We’ve placed orders for thousands of Spikeys, StopTopps and scrunchie drink covers. The scrunchies will be available to purchase from the Union Shop while all other mitigation methods will be free in of our venues. Unfortunately, supply issues have meant there’s been a long delay in receiving this stock but we’re hopeful these will all be in place for the start of the next term in January.

Making spiking test kits available has been a top priority and we’ve secured a supply of these for our Advice Centre. We’re finalising the process for how these will be distributed alongside updated communications on how to access them and what to do if a result comes back positive. This will be complete for the start of next term and will give individuals the ability to confirm for themselves if there has been an issue.

Another area of consideration is the availability of spiking tests for our on-site medics with the aim of providing immediate reassurance to anyone that feels they may have been spiked. We’re awaiting the publication of research from Police Scotland on the efficacy of the tests and management process before deploying this method.

Safety outside our venues

Getting home safe has also been high on our agenda and President Henn Warwick has continued to lobby Dr Ben Spencer MP regarding street lighting in the local area. There’s progress being made in this area and in a recent community meeting he committed to pressing Surrey County Council to release funds to reinstate specific streetlights. We’ll update you about this in more detail when we have final confirmations.

Henn has also met with the Deputy Director of Estates, Piers Long, to discuss the potential introduction of a daily late-night bus service from campus, replicating the existing daytime service through until 04:00 on event nights. Currently, the service stops operating at 01:00.

What to do if you suspect you've been spiked

If you think yourself or a friend has been spiked, dispose of the drink in question immediately. Inform a member of the bar or security team who will be able to assist you. Find somewhere safe, away from large groups of people but with a friend and potentially with support from our staff team.

If it is your friend that has been spiked, make sure you don't leave them alone. Contact the GP Surgery (if the incident occurs during their opening hours) or NHS Advice (111) immediately. Alternatively, the nearest A&E department is St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey - attend here straight away if you feel sleepy, vomit or have hallucinations.

If you're capable, arrange transport and travel home but only go home with someone you totally trust. If you are with people you do not know, contact a trusted friend or relative to come and take you home and look after you. If you or your friend is comfortable doing so, inform the police about the incident - they may ask for a sample of your blood or urine to test, to find out if drugs have been used. It is important you are tested as soon as possible if you think your drink was spiked as most drugs leave your body within 12 –72 hours.

If you suspect you have been spiked in one of our venues, please contact venues@su.rhul.ac.uk with the details of the incident so that we can investigate what has happened and a member of our team will get in touch.