Skip to content

Spiking (1127A/23)


Please can you answer the following freedom of information request:


According to Police UK: Spiking is when someone puts alcohol or drugs into another person’s drink or body without their consent or knowledge.

People can also be a victim of ‘needle spiking’, which is injecting someone with drugs without their consent.

Spiking can happen to anyone, anywhere and can be carried out by strangers or people you know.

Spiking someone could be a number of criminal offences, which can carry sentences of up to ten years in prison; even when no other offence, like theft or assault, has happened.



1 – Please can you provide the total number of spiking allegations received by your force in the following calendar years: 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

2 – Please confirm how many of the allegations listed in your response to question 1 led to an arrest and/or charge.

3 – Please provide a brief description of each allegation listed in your response to question 1 .

Note: Please include all drink and/or needle spiking allegations in your response.


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. This is because there are no offences specifically for drink / needle spiking, and there are no markers or categories on our systems to denote this; spiking could be categorised under several different offence codes (i.e. Home Office Codes (HOCs) 5/10, 5/24, 88/2, 88/5). However, in order to accurately capture all instances of drink / needle spiking we would need to manually review the circumstances of each record under these offence codes. We have searched our systems for these HOCs and have identified 1,263 records, therefore, at an estimate of 2 minutes to review each log this would take in excess of 40 hours of work. With regard to question 2, custody logs are created separately to crime logs, therefore, in order to identify if an arrest had been made in connection with the crime we would need to review each crime record and then conduct separate database searches by cross referencing the details of the crime to identify if a separate custody record had been created. We estimate a minimum of 5 minutes to conduct each of these searches. With regard to question 3, we would need to read the circumstances of each individual crime record and subsequently create an individual summary for each case. Due to the lines of enquiry and cross referencing required to conduct all of these searches however, this would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for this part of the request and if one part of a request exceeds the fees limit then S12 of the Act applies to the whole request.

However, under Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can provide information using the aforementioned HOCs of 5/10, 5/24, 88/2, 88/5, broken down by outcome. Please find this information attached (1127A_Attachment).

This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.