11/28/2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

ON Tuesday evening (Oct 26), students from Aberystwyth University took to the streets in protest over the  increase in spiking and drugging in nightclubs in Aberystwyth and across the UK.

The march began outside the popular nightclub Pier Pressure before proceeding to numerous other pubs throughout the  town.

Approximately 90 people turned up for the event. Megaphones were used to convey the key message points of the march.

The marchers did several laps of the main town before finishing back on the Promenade where it began.

The march was met with overall positivity from the local community in the form of people cheering on balconies and members of the public stepping out of pubs to cheer and clap.

There were however some who expressed their frustration and concerns at the march being held so late in the evening. One onlooker who did not wish to be identified asked:  “Haven’t they considered people with young children, old people or people working nightshifts? Waking everyone up at late hours in the night isn’t going to solve the issue.”

Pic. Elkanah Evans, EGE Photography

Nevertheless, the support for the march was overwhelmingly positive, and the organisers said  that they have made a big impact in the way that the local and county council will be handling the situation moving forward.

What is ‘Spiking’? To spike a drink means to put alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink without their knowledge or permission. Drink spiking can occur anywhere drinks are served (such as at nightclubs, parties, pubs, restaurants and private homes). Drink spiking can be linked to crimes such as sexual assault and robbery.

Pic. Elkanah Evans, EGE Photography

Joe, the President of the Liberal Democrats Society said that the demonstration went above and beyond his expectations.

He said “It was so heart warming to see everyone out in support; Male, female and everyone in-between, coming together to demand three simple points- Test strips for all, enhanced security and greater punishment for those that spike.

“It’s three simple policies that could make the world of difference to young people all across Wales. I’m just so glad that we got out here, we got the message across and things are changing. We got the Student Union to change their policy. Angel and Pier now have more enhanced security checks. We now have policies within political parties. The Lib Dems have changed their policy to free test strips for all. We’re making so much progress and honestly I am so happy.”

When asked about the support from the local community, Joe said that it was heart warming to see the community come together to stand up against this heinous crime and to come together to demand action.

Joe finished by saying that the council has a lot of power and a lot of leverage over the venues, and with the student population in Ceredigion voicing their concern through protest, the council should act to keep the venues safe and secure.

Leader of the Welsh Lib Dems Jane Dodds has called for the Welsh Government to look at urgent  legislation to address the issue and provide greater protection for individuals.

The calls come after concern continues to grow over a significant rise in the number of people reporting being spiked, including so-called ‘injection spiking’, where a victim is injected with drugs against their will.

Several UK police forces are investigating possible cases of injection spiking, and the home secretary has asked for an urgent update on the scale of the problem. Dyfed Powys Police confirmed they are investigating a suspected case of injection spiking in Aberystwyth last week.

Figures obtained by the BBC in 2019 revealed a rise in recorded cases of drink-spiking, with more than 2,600 reported incidents in England and Wales since 2015. 72 per cent of the alleged victims were female.

Campaigners say those stats don’t show the full scale of the problem because many people don’t report what’s happened to the police or visit the doctor quickly enough to do a blood test.

 

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