Injection spiking: One case 'confirmed by medical professionals' in Sheffield
Reports of people being spiked by injection across the country caused worry and fear amongst those who enjoy a night out in clubs and bars late last year.
Incidents of needle spiking – when an unsuspecting person is injected with drugs – were widely reported across the UK in November and October.
South Yorkshire Police investigated three separate incidents in Sheffield in November, and other incidents were reported to police in Nottingham, Exeter, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
During a meeting of the police and crime commissioner’s public accountability board on January 10, South Yorkshire Police’s Chief Superintendent said that the force has been monitoring reports of spiking on a ‘daily, weekly and monthly basis’.
Chief Supt Sarah Poolman told the meeting that there has been a ‘significant reduction’ in cases from November to December of 31 per cent, following a ‘steep rise’ in October.
Chief Supt Poolman added: “The ones that have attracted a significant amount of media attention all those involving needle marks or the victims believing they’ve been injected with something.
“Of the 45 crimes…. in December, 12 made reference to an injection, of which only one had been confirmed by a medical professional.
“Sheffield has seen a 48 per cent reduction, Barnsley is seeing a 25 percent reduction, Rotherham’s levels, which have been very low, have remained stable.
“Doncaster interestingly has seen a slight increase from five to 11 offences in December compared to November, so quite a significant increase in Doncaster.”
Chief Supt Poolman added that it is not just women affected by the crime – 18 per cent of victims reporting such crimes in December were men.
However, she added that ‘very rarely’ are other offences being reported alongside the instances of alleged spiking, such as robbery or sexual offences, and there is still no indication of what substance is being used.
Chief Supt Poolman said this is making it ‘very difficult’ for the force to understand the perpetrators’ motivations.
“This is a strange phenomenon, frankly, that has evolved since October where normally we would see spiking associated with a further offence but we are seeing very little of that.
“That’s why I think I think there potentially is something that’s trending somewhere that’s caught the attention of individuals. But it is very difficult because needle marks are very difficult to identify.
“Please do not construe that as we do not believe the victim, we absolutely know that something’s happened to these victims, we’re just not entirely sure what.”
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