NewsFear celebrates with: British women concerned about safety in...

Fear celebrates with: British women concerned about safety in clubs

After several months of lockdown, many young Britons finally want to celebrate carefree again. But now reports of new types of attacks in the country’s clubs are leaving their mark.

London – a little spade – and a nightmare begins. Such reports have created fear and uncertainty in the UK over the past few weeks.

Strangers roam British clubs and knock out young women so that they can rape them – by giving them knockout drops? This suspicion has persisted over the past few months. But the situation is far from clear.

If you ask the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the number drops: 670 cases. This is how many girls and women reported from September to early December suspecting that they were injected with knockout drops or other narcotic substances that temporarily incapacitates them. The problem, however, is that proving this is extremely difficult. Very few of these cases have been confirmed so far.

Hazardous substances in the drink

Interior Minister Priti Patel wants to shed light on this darkness and has called on the police to investigate the clues more intensively. “We are not very successful here in Great Britain in proving these attacks,” said drug use researcher Harry Sumnall from Liverpool John Moores University in an interview with the German press agency. He is not only referring to the alleged cases with syringes, but also attacks in which women are mixed with dangerous substances in drinks, for example.

This is due to the fact that the evidence – such as the drink in question – is often missing in retrospect or many women are still not believed. Often there are doubts: Did the person take drugs voluntarily after all? Can she remember “There’s a real mismatch between public perception, the cases reported, and actual evidence,” says Sumnall.

It wasn’t long after the UK clubs reopened in July that the first cases of needle spiking, as the phenomenon is known in the UK, were reported. In October, around 20 girls and women spoke on Sky News station who spoke about their suspicions of having been victims of such attacks. Several reported injured skin areas where they suspected a needle would penetrate.

“The place became darker and there was a scar and my hand hurt more and more,” said the student Sarah Buckle the broadcaster. “It’s just scary and I have the feeling that I can’t trust anyone.” Not all of those affected report actual or attempted abuse, which doesn’t reduce the question marks about the attacker’s motive.

Fears and anger

Nottinghamshire Police Department Commissioner Kathryn Craner is following up some of these complaints. “They are very different from anything we’ve seen before,” Craner told the Independent. Those affected reported a feeling of scratching even before they had symptoms of nausea, for example. Finding what actually happened is extremely difficult.

Regardless of what happened or not, concerns remain with many. “The fears and anger that many young people feel at the moment are real,” said the criminologist Fiona Measham recently the “Cosmopolitan”. Some women have followed their worries with action and organized to protest. Under the motto “Girls Night In”, they called for a club boycott on certain days in a number of cities. In a petition, thousands also called for stricter controls on entry to clubs.

In order for the extent of the phenomenon to be tangible and demonstrable, further investigations and a lot more investigative work are necessary. It’s a police priority, said Jason Harwin, who coordinates drug work at the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It remains to be seen whether club visitors have actually been attacked with syringes in the past few months, or whether club-goers exploited their concerns and played stupid pranks, for example with safety pins or other sharp objects.

Injection by syringe

Harry Sumnall points out that injecting a substance by syringe – especially in a dark, crowded room and unnoticed – is not that easy to carry out. “It takes a long time, you need at least 20 to 30 seconds for the necessary dose,” says the expert. In his opinion, a larger group should deal with the reported cases and the uncertainty of many women: For example, staff in clubs or bars should be made aware of how to deal with victims. Clarification is also urgently needed from the police and authorities so that victims can be shown the necessary trust.

Sumnall thinks it is possible that the great attention could actually change something. “Something is different this time,” says the researcher, who has been dealing with similar cases for years. The brutal murder of a young woman by a police officer, serious rape cases and then the reports of attacks in clubs. In the UK, the time may have come when a drop has broken the barrel. dpa

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