Needle spiking allegations in the Cherwell area have not increased as evidence has not been found to support this statement according to police investigations.

That was the answer of Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Matthew Barber when asked to address a matter that has grabbed headlines in recent weeks.

Bicester Town Mayor, Nick Mawer, father of two daughters currently at university, said to find reports on needle spiking very concerning.

Read more: Three spikings reported in Oxfordshire

He explained that no specific incident has been brought to his attention but “that doesn’t mean that they haven’t taken place”.

“It is a complicated matter. I think, also, some people might not realise what’s happened to them or when it has happened. I wouldn’t want people to be overly alarmed because I think it’s still a rare occurrence.” Mr Mawer added.

According to Councillor Andrew McHugh, in conversation with the local area police commander in Cherwell, they have had reports of a" significant cluster" of recent allegations.

He asked Mr Barber if the significant increase in allegations on needle spiking show a real increase in the crime per se or whether it reflects previous underreporting.

Mr Barber replied that this is a “really challenging [issue] to try to understand, there is complexity around potentially underreporting and overreporting.”

According to Mr Barber, since the first needle spiking report in Scotland they have received some allegations.

He said: “We have certainly seen reports of needle spiking across areas of the Thames Valley, there was the first report in Scotland in September or October which made the news and since then we have received some allegations locally.

“We are not necessarily seeing a huge increase in the number of cases where we find evidence of it following investigation but we cannot be complacent and actively encourage anyone who has concerns to report them and have confidence that those cases are being properly looked at. We have test kits available and we are pursuing those investigations.

“That confidence is incredibly important and there could potentially be some horrific incidents out there that we are missing if people don’t have that confidence.

“What we haven’t seen at the moment is the increase in associated sexual assaults linked to the night-time economy which you may imagine. Without wishing to be too cynical, people aren’t spiking drinks for the fun of it.

“That has not been the case as of yet and I hope that remains the case.”

Read more: Police investigate nightclub needle attack in Oxford

Needle spiking is an offshoot of drink spiking where people are jabbed without warning and injected with drugs in busy areas such as night spots.

Opinion around needle spiking is divided. Many experts believe the prospect of successfully injecting someone with enough of a substance to affect them without them noticing to be highly unlikely, suggesting there is more credibility to instances of drink spiking.


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