Uni of Herts welcomes government initiative and introduces measures to tackle spiking

The University of Hertfordshire De-Havilland Campus. Picture: Herts Uni.

The University of Hertfordshire De-Havilland Campus. Picture: Herts Uni. - Credit: Archant

The University of Hertfordshire is teaming up with the Department of Education and the Home Office to tackle drink spiking and other attacks on students. 

Universities, police and experts are joining forces as part of a wider government initiative to tackle violent and sexual crimes and strengthen victims’ rights. 

Universities minister Michelle Donelan has convened a group bringing together vice-chancellors, senior police, campaigners and victims to create plans for practical action to help keep students safe, reporting back before the start of the autumn term. 

It comes after a campaign to end the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) by universities in order to silence victims of sexual harassment, abuse, and bullying. More than 50 universities have signed a pledge committing to end their use. 

The Government has already taken action to reclassify GHB and closely related substances, which have been used for drink spiking, and will work with law enforcement and local authorities to look at further action to tackle these crimes, as well as taking into consideration the case for a specific criminal offence for spiking. 

After a personal experience with a victim of spiking, Michelle Donelan will ask every university to introduce a policy on tackling spiking by the end of the year to make sure victims are recognised and supported.  

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Students’ Union explained what they have done locally: “We have introduced a number of enhanced measures to ensure the safety of students and their guests in our event spaces. These include increased searches of those coming into the venues, CCTV cameras covering all areas of our nightclub building and extensive training for bar and security staff, including Active Bystander and 'Ask for Angela' training.  

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“We also work closely in partnership with Hertfordshire Constabulary to ensure we are up to date with crime prevention and we brief our staff accordingly. The safety of students and staff is our absolute priority and we welcome the news of a working group from the Department for Education and Home Office to tackle the issue of spiking.”