Reports of needle spiking in Sheffield have dropped says police chief

Reports of needle spiking have dropped in Sheffield, according to a South Yorkshire Police chief.

Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:27 am
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:45 am

Incidents of needle spiking – when an unsuspecting person is injected with drugs – were widely reported across the UK in November and October 2021.

South Yorkshire Police investigated three separate incidents in Sheffield in November.

During a meeting of the police and crime commissioner’s public accountability board on May 12, South Yorkshire Police’s Chief Superintendent said that the force has seen “month-on-month” reductions of spiking reports.

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"Thankfully, we are seeing a reduction in those numbers of reports, which suggests to me our presence, the training, working with partners we've done is making it safer certainly for women and girls out in the night time economy. "

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Chief Superintendent Sarah Poolman told the meeting that the force has been monitoring reports of spiking, adding: “It’s a really, really difficult thing to unpick.

“There’s been a national framework for submissions for forensic testing, which has been a fast-track process.

“I’m not aware of any results from South Yorkshire that have identified spiking, as in a GHB or some form of intoxicant that has caused the behaviour that the victim has explained and described to us.

“The good news is that since November, we have seen month-on-month reductions in terms of reporting.

“The needle spiking definitely has dropped, as have the generic alcohol spiking.

“Sheffield has used a product from Thames Valley…which is the use of proactive officers to keep an eye out for predatory behaviour on a night time, and that has now been rolled out right across the force.”

Chief Superintendent Shelley Helmsley added that he city centre is “really busy”, with “various different groups of people going back into the night-time economy”.

“We have premises in Sheffield that remain open till seven o’clock in the morning. Our staff on Friday and Saturday evening are busy engaging with the public and dealing with incidents right from nine o’clock in the evening until seven o’clock the next morning.

“We were getting quite a few reports of people feeling unsafe because of spiking incidents in the city centre, that’s one of the reasons that I want to ensure that we have sufficient numbers of staff that are in the night-time economy.

“Thankfully, we are seeing a reduction in those numbers of reports, which suggests to me our presence, the training, working with partners we’ve done is making it safer certainly for women and girls out in the night time economy. ”

“We can never say never, but we’ve certainly seen less reporting.”