• PCA Students' Union

Statement on Student Safety and Spiking

Please be aware that this statement includes topics of a sensitive nature.


As a Students’ Union, we want to thank everyone who has been in touch, ensuring we were aware of reports of spiking not just in the city but across the country, concerned for the safety of the members of our community. We have been working on support for this issue over the past couple of weeks, and wholeheartedly support the Girls Night In nationwide campaign; we’ve listened to their suggestions for venues and will be working towards as many of those as are attainable for us.


We are committed to working together to keep all students in the city safe. Student Union President, Harriet Moore, has recently been in touch with UPSU President, Emi Dowse, and Marjon SU President, Lauren Edwards, to work on a joined-up response that focuses on awareness and education. Since July 2021, Student Union Manager, Paige Nolan, has been developing the ‘Safer Students Scheme’, a joined-up approach of universities and colleges in the city working to ensure the city is safe for everyone.


We’re thankful that we haven’t had any reports of spiking within our Students’ Union, but want to reassure you of what’s in place to keep you safe. We operate a zero tolerance approach when it comes to spiking or any anti-social behaviour. Spiking is illegal, and the maximum sentence for someone found guilty of spiking is 10 years in prison. If someone is caught spiking in the Students' Union, you will be banned and reported.


We are always looking at ways to improve and increase safety for students, that’s why we have recently become an Ask For Angela bar, meaning anyone can speak to a member of staff if they are feeling unsafe, and we’re in the process of joining the Best Bar None Scheme to join up with other venues in the city in keeping everyone safe. We are also trying to get drink spiking test kits, looking at the possibility of First Aid and spiking awareness training for bar staff, and we are in the process of developing educational posters and guidance.


As a fully licensed venue, we will always have security staff on site when the bar is open and the Students’ Union has CCTV cameras covering the entire space, with another in the corridor to the toilets. When you go outside or to the toilets, please feel free to give your drink to our bar staff to keep safe for you. Whilst awareness and education are our priority, we do offer support for drink spiking prevention; you can collect bottle stoppers (Spikeys) and personal alarms from the Student Union Office.


We work closely with Host, and know many of you live in The Old Dairy or Frobisher House, so we’ve let them know about the support we offer and will share any posters and guidance with them too, working together to tackle this. You can report spiking to the Host team, who are First Aid trained and can call an ambulance for you.


If you think, or someone in your group thinks, that they have been spiked in our bar, we have support in place to ensure their safety. Please alert a member of Student Union staff or security as soon as possible. We can assist you in calling a taxi or ambulance immediately.


If you have been spiked; we can check our CCTV, support you in reporting to the venue and Devon and Cornwall Police, can refer you to Student Support, and can help you report to the College if another student is involved.


Spiking may include someone adding alcohol or drugs to your drink, or drugging you in other ways, such as injections. The intent may include theft, assault, or as a ‘joke’.


Being able to recognise a drink that’s been tampered with may help to keep yourself and others safe; a spiked drink may appear foggy or cloudy, may have excessive bubbles, may change in colour, or your ice may sink.


Some drugs may be odourless, colourless or tasteless, but being able to recognise the symptoms may help you or someone with you get support and medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms of being spiked include loss of balance, impaired vision, sickness or vomiting, confusion and even unconsciousness. You may simply feel strange or much drunker than you should be, or say or do things that you wouldn’t usually.


Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us to report spiking, or to pass on any ideas or suggestions you have for how we can better support and educate on the matter.



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