I’ll make ‘disgusting’ spiking a criminal offence, pledges Priti Patel

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The Home Secretary has ordered a review as fears rise that criminals are rendering people helpless by lacing drinks and using injections. An amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in the Lords was passed, committing the Government to a review of spiking under the Sexual Offences Act.

But Ms Patel has ordered a wider probe, expected to take a year, to also examine how it is used by thieves.

A source conceded the Government may create an offence before the review is concluded, telling the Sunday Times: “Action could be taken more quickly if deemed necessary.”

The Home Office said ministers will table an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Officials said Ms Patel “has already confirmed the Government is looking into whether creating a new offence specifically on spiking would help the police and courts”.

The Home Secretary said: “Spiking someone to perform sexual acts without consent is utterly disgusting. I have listened to what the House of Lords has said about the need for a review. 

“But police chiefs have made clear to me that there is still far more to learn about the nature of spiking and the motivations.

“Some cases have been linked to theft while others have involved the perpetrator just causing harm to others for the sake of it. 

“Our response to such appalling acts must be as robust as possible, to ensure that everyone is protected.

“If there is a clear case for making spiking a standalone offence, then I will not hesitate to bring in new laws.”

Ms Patel wrote to every MP outlining why the Government believes misogyny should not be added as a specific hate crime. 

Officials say the Law Commission found that legislating to do so “would in fact prove ‘more harmful than helpful’ to victims of violence against women and girls.

“Prosecutors would need to prove a ‘hate crime’ occurred as part of another offence, such as rape, making it harder to prosecute sexual offences and domestic abuse.” 

The Home Secretary will welcome the Lords’ amendment which lets local authorities establish a “buffer” for schools and vaccination centres targeted by harmful protests.

Urging MPs to back the bill, Ms Patel said: “We are putting more police officers on the streets, removing dangerous weapons and bearing down on violent criminals.

“There are still too many criminals getting off with inadequate sentences.

“This Bill is vitally important as we overhaul the criminal justice system and make our streets safer. It must be passed soon so that we can continue to cut crime, reduce violence and protect women and girls.”

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