Dear Boris Johnson,
My name is Darcy, and I am 21. I turn 22 in June of next year. I haven’t ever been spiked on a night out, but I know people that have. One day, I might be one of those women. Or my sister might. Or an individual at another university, miles away from my own, might. That is why I am writing you this letter. For the individuals that I know, and for those that I don’t.
Since the reopening of student nightlife in the wake of the pandemic, incidents of spiking by needle have been reported across the UK. Nottingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Leeds. Exeter, Newcastle, Bristol. So many now, that I can no longer count them on both hands. The trade body for UK nightclubs, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), has called for an urgent inquiry into the wide issue of spiking. Campaigns have been set up in universities across the country, with organised boycotts of local nightclubs taking place across the coming weeks. I’ll be sitting at home, my friends will too. Nottinghamshire Police have stated officers are currently investigating three reports of women being injected with needles in the last two weeks. Police Scotland have also begun enquiries into an alleged spiking by injection incident earlier this month. I am writing to you to call for change.
I might get spiked; I might not get pursued. Is it just for fun? A bit of a laugh? There is a culture here which needs to be addressed. I can’t listen to another talk about safety. I’ve had them countless times, from a very young age until now. But what good will they be, really, when the nightclubs that my friends and I frequent aren’t taking my concerns seriously? I, like so many others, wished desperately to go out clubbing with my friends over the past two years. I graduated this July, my ceremony cancelled like so many others – and all we had wanted was one final night out. Since establishments reopened, I’ve been out once. Should I wear denim, will it be harder to pierce? Can I go to the bar on my own? Why would somebody want to spike me, my friends? I have so many questions, but so few answers.
That’s why I, like others, am calling for it to be made a legal requirement for individuals to be searched on entry for weapons and drugs at a nightclub. A petition, set up by former Edinburgh Napier student, Hannah Thomson garners over 136,866 signatures at my time of writing this letter. By the minute, that number increases. This is an issue which demands addressing. This is an issue which is not going away.
I am 21. I am somebody’s daughter, sister, friend. I try often to be kind, polite and courteous to people that I meet. But I make mistakes. I don’t always watch my drinks. I also cling to my friends in a nightclub. I get anxious before going out. I worry for my sister, for her friends and mine – for girls at my university and others across the UK. After all, what more can we do? Until change is made, until stringent measures are put in place, I will not feel safe. How can I?