Scotland’s chief legal officer and Police Scotland have been urged to work together to counter a spate of reported spikings after investigations were launched into several incidents that may have involved needles.
Pauline McNeill, Scottish Labour’s justice spokeswoman, has written to Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone and the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC for more information on spiking statistics, while also calling on the police, licensing authorities, the night time industry and universities to work together to keep women safe.
It comes after Police Scotland said they are investigating a “small number of reports” of spiking by injection in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen, while another spiking incident – not involving a needle – is being probed in Stirling.
Police said the incidents do not appear to be linked, despite reports being posted on social media within a few days of each other.
All reports have come from areas with a high student population.
McNeill said in her letters: “Women are disproportionately the victims of such crimes and they are understandably concerned, not only about being drugged but also the potential dangers to their physical safety following such an attack.
“Spiking via injection may also come with the added risk of needle infection; it also makes it harder for victims to avoid or take personal steps against to protect themselves from being spiked.
“Unfortunately spiking is not a new problem but with this new spate of attacks it is important that perpetrators are found and dealt with accordingly.
“It was welcome to see that the police have launched a probe into reports of spiking via injection in Glasgow, but I am concerned about the apparent scale of the problem.”
In a statement, she added: “The recent reports of drink spiking have been harrowing.
“This is a disgusting and dangerous criminal act that must be eradicated.
“We cannot have the women in Scotland living in fear of their own safety.
“We need to understand the scale of the problem and what can be done to deal with it.
“That’s why Scottish Labour has today written to the Lord Advocate and to the chief constable of Police Scotland to get clarity on the issue.
“What we need is the police, the industry, licensing boards and universities all working together to keep women safe.
“It’s time to end the scandal of spiking once and for all.”