the essential After GHB in drinks, injections: a wave of testimonies of students drugged without their knowledge by injections in nightclubs worries in the United Kingdom.
The practice of inserting drugs into a victim’s drink has been known for years. But in recent days, many young women and a few young men have denounced assaults in bars or nightclubs using hypodermic needles, causing fear in the UK.
Testimonies have mushroomed after two University of Nottingham students spoke to UK media, displaying their needle marks and bruises on their skin.
Zara Owen, a freshman, explained that she woke up after a night out with hazy memories and a sharp pain in her leg, where she spotted a prick.
Sarah Buckle, in second grade, was taken to hospital by her friends after collapsing suddenly during a night out. She then discovered a bruise on her hand with a dark mark in the center, which she showed on Channel 4 News.
Since September, UK police say they have received 140 reports of incidents involving drugged drinks and 24 involving bites.
“It is clear that these reports are very worrying,” said Deputy Chief of Police Jason Harwin, head of the drug branch within the federation (NPCC) which coordinates the various police agencies.
Three men arrested
According to him, the NPCC is working “at a sustained pace” to “understand the extent of this delinquency”, establish any link between these allegations and bring those responsible to justice.
Police in Nottinghamshire, northern England, on Friday said they had arrested two men as part of their investigation into incidents of “needle sticks” in the city.
The young men, aged 17 and 18, are suspected of having planned to drug people “with the intention of harming, annoying or injuring them”, the police said.
In neighboring Lincolnshire, police arrested a 35 year-old man early in the morning on suspicion of possessing drugs with the intention of administering them, after receiving help from nightclub staff. But without that involving a needle.
Since the beginning of the month, Nottinghamshire Police have received 15 reports of “suspected prick by a sharp object” from 14 women and one man, and 32 reports in all drug administration since early September.
And this concerns other parts of England. Police in Devon and Cornwall say they are investigating “an incident in which a woman was assaulted with a needle” at an Exeter nightclub. A case has also been reported in the West Midlands.
A series of boycotts of nightclubs and bars
This wave of denunciations comes just months after the high-profile death of two young women in the streets of the capital, which created considerable emotion in the United Kingdom and revived the debate on women’s safety in the public space.
Sarah Everard, a 33 year-old Londoner, was attacked in the middle of the street and then killed in early March by a police officer on her way home. Sabrina Nessa, 24 year old teacher, was missing on 17 September then that she was leaving her house to go to a bar a five-minute walk away. His body was found the next day in a park, hidden under a pile of leaves.
To protest against this new threat to their security, the students and their male comrades are preparing a series of boycotts of nightclubs and bars, refusing to go out on a predetermined evening in each city to demand better protection.
More than 163. 000 people signed a petition asking the government to make it compulsory the meticulous search of customers at the entrance of nightclubs.
The parliamentary committee in charge of internal affairs examined the testimonies of the victims on Wednesday, its president Yvette Cooper describing the needle attacks as “heinous crimes”.