West Yorkshire Police confirmed on Wednesday that an investigation had been launched after a woman reported being spiked by injection in the city centre on October 13.
Detective Superintendent Paula Bickerdike said: “We understand the genuine concerns that women have around their safety, particularly in the night-time economy, and we remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can alongside our partner agencies to make the county a safer place for women and girls.
“We continue to work alongside partner agencies and licensees to warn and educate people about staying safe on a night out, and we conduct regular partnership operations to keep people safe.”
The force could not confirm on Wednesday whether it has seen a noticeable increase in spiking cases.
Cases have also been reported in Nottingham and Scotland.
Wire Nightclub and Voodoo Events, which run club nights in Leeds, both pledged to increase security yesterday, but groups from more than 30 universities have joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of clubs, with campaigners seeking “tangible” changes such as covers/stoppers for drinks, better training for staff and more rigorous searches of clubbers.
A petition launched last week to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has already gained more than 120,000 signatures.
Yesterday the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, West Yorkshire MP Yvette Cooper, urgently raised the issue in Parliament.
At a meeting of the Select Committee, Ms Cooper was told by Sarah Crew, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for rape and adult sexual offences, that a number of forces are investigating if there has been a rise and are working with the night-time economy in partnership to work out who the predators are.
Ms Crew said: “I think it’s a fair assumption there may be a sexual motive in those, but there isn’t an indication.”
Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that in the past few days a number of students have reported instances of women being spiked on nights out.”
Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds described the reports of the “vile act” as “terrifying”.
He added: “This awful crime needs to be clamped down on without delay.”
The chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association Michael Kill said the organisation was “very concerned” about the reports and called on the Home Office to do more to investigate the problem.