Give yourself the gift of forward thinking

It may have been a long time coming, but there was some good news for the hospitality industry on the cusp of the Festive Season.

Just as Parliament was wrapping up for Christmas, Home Secretary James Cleverly unveiled a package of measures aimed at clamping down on spiking and changing legislation to make it a specific offence.

This practice of introducing substances to people’s drinks has been increasing steadily for years, despite initiatives to fight back – including many promoted by the hospitality sector. And whilst arguments will continue as to why it’s taken so long to act, this move, which cuts across party political lines, will be embraced by, well, everyone.

The raft of measures includes the change to legislation, research and implementation of self-testing kits, training for door staff and all hospitality colleagues, and better education for young people about the threat of spiking.

Police crackdowns during peak periods for the hospitality industry will be another initiative – one which has worked well in reducing knife crime.

There will also be an anonymous reporting system to help protect victims of spiking, and the crackdown will mean offenders face up to 10 years in prison.

The Home Secretary said: “Spiking is a perverse crime which can have a lasting effect on victims. Our measures are designed to protect them and bring more offenders to justice.”

Minister for Victims and Safeguarding, Laura Farris, said: “Spiking is an insidious and predatory act which is already illegal. We are making the offence explicit to capture the modern-day nature of the threat.

“Taken alongside new measures to improve the way the police respond to incidents, and better equipping venue staff to identify, respond and protect their customers, we are sending a clear message that perpetrators of this crime should expect to be caught and face justice.”

The Licensing Act 2003 will also be updated to include spiking and increased use of literature and promotions to warn of the offence will be rolled out through venues and further education campuses.

Dawn Dines, CEO and Founder of Stamp Out Spiking Global, said: “This is a monumental announcement. Spiking being clearly recognised in law and the language being modernised will give a clear message to the perpetrators that giving someone any drug – including alcohol – without that person’s knowledge or consent can result in a criminal conviction. Spiking will finally not be an invisible crime.”

There are plenty of questions to be answered about how the new initiative will be implemented and, as ever, we at Complete Licensing will be able to clear up any issues and offer advice and help. We’re pleased and proud that we will be doing our bit towards making the hospitality sector a safer place to work in and enjoy – and, let’s face it, a safe environment means more confidence and, ultimately, more trade.

It may have taken time, but this is an initiative worth toasting.