Only 37 people found guilty and convicted of spiking attacks in four years

Only five per cent of hundreds of recorded crimes became convictions

Despite hundreds of cases being recorded by the police, only 37 people were found guilty of spiking and date rape incidents in the last four years.

New data from the Ministry of Justice and obtained and analysed by National World, shows that from 2017-2020 just 49 prosecution cases were launched in England and Wales, and only 37 perpetrators were convicted of “administering a substance with intent”.

This is intentionally administering a substance without the consent of the other person, “with the intention of stupefying or overpowering [that person], so as to enable any person to engage in a sexual activity that involves [them]”. Upon conviction, the crime can get a prison sentence of up to 10 years. 

Information obtained from the Home Office by National World shows that in the same four-year period, 40 police forces recorded 675 of these crimes.

This means that just five per cent of these crimes reported to police result in a criminal conviction.

However, of those 49 cases where a prosecution case was launched, 75 per cent of these resulted in a criminal conviction.

The true scale of spiking may be unknown, as offences are recorded under the “principal” crime only. This is usually the one with the most severe maximum sentence, or the one the judge gives the most severe punishment for, National World reports.

So if a perpetrator were to be charged with both spiking and a serious offence such as rape (which carries a maximum life sentence), it would likely not be recorded under spiking – meaning it’s difficult to know the full scale.

Ministry of Justice figures show everyone convicted of spiking, regardless of other crimes. Only four of the prosecutions from 2017-2020 had spiking as their principal offence.

Jayne Butler, chief executive of of Rape Crisis, said: “Date-rape, as with any sexual assault or rape, is already hugely under-reported: it’s very difficult to get a picture of the true scale of the crime.

“Recording just the principal offence further prohibits the possibility to measure how widespread this problem is.

“There has been a lot of dialogue recently around spikings, and many women are rightly concerned about the frequency of them. This is having an impact on their sense of safety.

“We would encourage data collection which enables the public to gain a better understanding of how prevalent these offences are.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Date rape is a despicable crime which devastates lives and can rightly attract a life sentence.”

They said police are taking “extremely disturbing” recent reports of needle spiking very seriously.

They said: “We remain in close contact with the police on this issue, urge anyone with information on these incidents to contact their local force and the Home Secretary is receiving regular updates.”

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