Published: 12:59, 21 October 2021
| Updated: 15:05, 24 October 2021
Nightclubs and bars across the county are set to be boycotted following a spate of reports of spiking - including by injection.
Campaigners say there is a "lack of concern being show by local clubs and the government" following a recent increase in incidents.
It follows concerning reports across the country this week of women being victims of "injection spiking".
Groups from more than 30 universities across the UK have joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of nightclubs.
A post called Girls Night In Canterbury says: "Join the boycotting of clubs and bars to protest the lack of concern being shown by the local clubs and the government of the increasing numbers of people being spiked on nights out."
The boycott is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.
Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield (Lab) said: "While I fully support the awareness of drink spiking being raised through actions like boycotts, the real issue here is that women should not have to stay at home to protect themselves from being drugged without consent.
"Following the reports of alleged incidents here in Canterbury, I have raised my concerns with the police, have reached out to the student union presidents at our universities and have been working with Labour councillors to address any potential issues around licensing."
A spokesperson for the University of Kent told KentOnline drink-spiking is "an appalling crime" and they remain "deeply concerned" about the national reports of an increase.
"The responsibility and fault is always with the person spiking a drink and it is never anyone's fault if their drink has been spiked," it says.
"As part of our regular safety campaigns and updates to students we have reminded them of what to be aware of when they are out, including advice on what someone should do if they think their drink or their friend's drink has been spiked."
Canterbury Christ Church University has also released a statement saying the "safety of all our students is a top priority".
"We proactively work with our Students’ Union, Kent Police, Canterbury City Council and other partners on a range of initiatives to ensure our students feel safe when out in Canterbury at night," it says.
"The initiatives include night-time lit route maps and street marshals, who patrol the streets where many of our students live off-campus or their routes back to campus after a night out.
"There is also a safe taxi arrangement and we support the city wide zero tolerance accreditation scheme and pop-up safety hubs which provide local information and advice on staying safe on a night out in the city, as well as giving out ‘spikeys’ (anti-drink spiking stoppers).
"Our Students’ Union is working directly with licensed venues on their safety protocols and procedures, preventative measures and aftercare.
"We also remind students that drink spiking is a crime and should be reported to the police and through our Report and Support platform, where they can speak with a specialist advisor and get support."
It is understood Kent Police have not received any reports from any potential victims of spiking via syringe.
Superintendent Pete Steenhuis said: "Kent Police and our partner agencies work hard to keep our communities and students safe.
"Our dedicated Community Safety Units work to prevent and deter criminal activity in public places, with specialists such as our licensing officers who help to improve safety in pubs, clubs and bars.
"Officers within these units are working closely with the charity SOS Global to deliver refresher training sessions to all door staff to ensure they can recognise the signs of drink-spiking and other criminal behaviour that might take place.
"We want our communities to feel safe when enjoying an evening out and to remember that there is always help and support available if you need it.
"We urge anyone in a licensed premises who needs assistance to ‘Ask for Angela’. This is a scheme where women can discreetly alert staff that they feel uneasy in their situation and staff can intervene.
"We take all reports of this type seriously and would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim or witness to spiking to come forward and report it."
Last week it was reported a city nightclub is implementing changes to increase safety after an “extremely worrying” incident in which a drink was reportedly spiked.
Police are investigating claims a young woman was drugged at Club Chemistry in Canterbury.
The woman, aged in her 20s, became “unwell and disoriented” during a night out at the venue in Station Road East.
Following reports of incidents across the country, Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked police forces to assess the scale of the problem.