London women have said they will boycott nightclubs following reports of spiking via injections while venues called on the Home Office to open an inquiry.
Nottinghamshire police received a dozen reports of spiking via an injection, rather than contaminated drinks, since September.
Police forces are also investigating reports in Glasgow, Exeter, West Yorkshire and the West Midlands. The Met said it had not recieved any reports of spiking by injection.
University students and young women across the country said they would participate in a boycott of nightclubs on Friday November 5 2021, in a bid to ensure spiking is “taken seriously” by bars.
Online campaign GirlsNightIn has called for further training for bar staff on how to tackle reports of sexual violence.
A home office source said the department had pressed police for an update “as we are keen to understand what is happening.”
More than 150,000 people have also signed a petition to the Government asking to “make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry.”
A large proportion of nightclubs already have a mandatory searching policy on entry, as a condition on their operating license, the industry body Night Time Industries Association told CityAM.
The group has asked the home office to open a formal inquiry into spiking and to examine the results of drink spiking testing pilot operated by Devon and Cornwall Police.
On-site testing would enable the collection of more data and also reassure customers of their safety on nights out, the NTIA added.
“The Home Office should launch a formal inquiry to examine the results of that pilot, and the lessons that can be applied to the industry and policing nationally,” NTIA boss Michael Kill said.
The CEO said “very real challenges still exist” despite clubs’ best efforts to protect customers.
Kill added: “We know this a societal problem, but it is very difficult to say with any real certainty what the scale of this problem is, because drink spiking is currently criminalised under an offence which encompasses many other types of incident, and it is also not possible to ascertain whether incident occurred within a licensed venue or some other setting.”
Recent headlines come as clubs have reported difficulty recruiting qualified bouncers, with the NTIA saying staffing levels are under 70 per cent of what they should be.
Bosses have warned this is a health and safety issue and urged the government to make it easier for people to train as door staff and to introduce temporary visas for EU workers to fill vacancies.
A spokesperson for late-night operator Revolution said the safety and wellbeing of its customers was its “number one priority.”
“We have fully trained and licensed door staff operating throughout our bars to create a positive environment and our management teams work continuously with other venues, local authorities and police on initiatives to ensure a safe nightlife,” they said.
Sexual violence groups have said there is often a surge in reports of drink spikings when universities return from the summer break in September.
Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, said the reports sounded “very worrying” but she was not aware of a spate of spiking via injections.