(This help guide is based on information provided by The Metropolitan Police, and other services that operate for London – topics below are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice).
If you’re engaging in chemsex, and something happens that you’ve not consented to or you’re assaulted, we understand you could be nervous about reporting it to the Police, but we hope this advice will ease those concerns. It is important to do your own research around this and come to a decision that suits you. We know it can all be daunting - read on to find out some options that may help.
IF YOU ARE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS:
All allegations of crime are taken seriously, and sexual assaults are dealt with sensitively by specially trained Officers. They understand the difficulties faced by someone reporting sexual violence, and can direct you to the most appropriate support services.
You’ll be asked if you’ve taken or used drugs or alcohol. This is mainly to make sure you’re feeling well enough and able to give an accurate account of what happened, and legally agree (consent) to a medical examination, if that’s required (in the cases of suspected sexual assaults, this will often be suggested, as your initial memory could be foggy, only later remembering more of what has happened, and by this point it could be too late to recover any forensics to support you in your case). If you are feeling unable, they can take some basic information and arrange to take a statement and tests at a later date to suit you. Tests are a little more time sensitive and always best to do this sooner rather than later, typically within 1 week. Statements can usually be done in a place and at a time of your choosing. You may also ask for officers to attend in plain clothing if this makes you feel more comfortable.
It is important that the Police know from the start if there were any drugs and/or alcohol involved, if it comes out later on, it might affect how jurors view the honesty and integrity of your account. Not because you’ve taken drugs/alcohol, but because you didn’t share details openly from the beginning, which might appear like you are trying to hide something or mislead them.
Being arrested for ‘using’ is very low-risk, as consuming drugs is technically not illegal – so you shouldn’t worry about telling the Police if you’ve used drugs. It would only become a problem if you were, for example, driving a car or become aggressive or alarming to those around you during the time of your report. Otherwise, it would be considered disproportionate and not in the public interest to pursue you for this reason alone. If you read into the Crown Prosecution Service guidelines around cases involving drugs, they focus on:
- possession of drugs
- supply of drugs
- possession of drugs with intent to supply
- drug production
- psychoactive substances act 2016
In any case, there will always be factors that will reflect well on you, such as no previous record for drugs, no previous related convictions, your compliance with the investigation, or evidence demonstrating the drug in question is used to alleviate symptoms in association to a chronic medical condition. There is a specific section that can be found around drug users who are witnesses, a few points of which are highlighted below:
- the safety and welfare of the witness
- the gravity of the offence
In any case, discretion can be applied. From a Police point of view, there is often a blurred line between drug supply and possession, yet an Officer’s primary concern should be to treat the person reporting as a victim of crime first and foremost, and seek medical help if necessary.
You can report to the Police online, by calling 101 if it isn’t an emergency, and on 999 if you or someone else are in immediate danger.
If you want to report to the Police anonymously, you can do that as well.
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED:
Realistically, you won’t be arrested for using drugs while having sex; if you admit to, or criminal offences are suspected (for example, supply of drugs, committing rape or other sexual offences), you will be arrested.
If you work with children or vulnerable adults (as an employee or volunteer), the Police might tell them you’ve been arrested, but this depends on the nature of offence and other factors. This is called a disclosure, and done to ensure the safety and well-being of others.
There’s no set list of jobs or types of jobs that will trigger the Police telling your employer or an organisation where you volunteer if you’re arrested. Instead, the Police has the power to decide what information to disclose, and to whom – this is under the Common Law Police Disclosure (CLPD) scheme.
The Police will only disclose information if they identify a ‘significant risk’ and an ‘urgent pressing’ social need to address. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) says that ‘pressing social need might be the safeguarding, or protection from harm, of an individual, a group of individuals, or society at large.’ The Police have a duty to balance public interest against your rights, including how a disclosure might affect your private life.
If you’re in a job or voluntary role that involves being in a position of trust or responsibility with the public (if you are in a profession or occupation that is meant to protect the vulnerable, including children, or linked to national security), the Police will definitely think about making a disclosure. The decision will be based on:
- your job/type of work
- the offence being investigated
- any specific circumstances
- an assessment of risk to an individual, or group of people
- substantial public interest considerations arise
Any disclosure has to be authorised by a Chief Officer (except in extreme cases of a ‘pressing social need’, where it may be necessary for any Officer, or Police staff to disclose information on their own initiative.).
In general, Police will maintain confidentiality. However, there is a presumption to notify in relation to all recordable convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings; unless there are exceptional reasons which make it inappropriate to do so.
The Police can’t make a decision about what happens with your job – they just give the information to your employer so they can decide what, if anything, to do. Your employer should have policies in place on how to deal with this situation.
IF YOU ARE IN POSSESSION OF DRUGS:
If you tell the Police that you’re in possession of drugs, or that you supplied (shared or sold) drugs in the past, they can’t ignore this, as physical possession, supply, or possession with intent to supply (PWITS) are criminal offences. It will be documented, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be arrested for this, arrest is typically a last resort. There are many factors to consider, such as the classification of the drug, the quantity, your history with drugs and reason for coming to Police notice now. These options will always be considered before arrest:
- Summons/Charged by Post
- Penalty for Notice Disorder
- Community Resolution
Remember, it is important to be honest. If you were the victim of a crime when you were taking drugs, and you don’t tell the Police but it comes out later, it might affect any future court proceedings. You might be seen as a less reliable witness (or victim), because you withheld information, but if this happens, you will still be able to explain why you chose to do this.
The law that deals with drug offences is the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
WILL THE POLICE ATTEND IF AN AMBULANCE IS CALLED?
The emergency services work together, even though you may have only asked for an ambulance it is possible Police may still attend as well. Or if the ambulance service is overwhelmed with callouts, Police may attend instead to make the initial assessments and offer first aid.
Police are likely to attend if:
- there’s suspicion that a crime has been committed
- entry (to the premises) may need to be forced to let the ambulance crew in
- the patient may be a danger to themselves
- the patient may be a danger to the ambulance crew
There are lots of specific reasons why the Police can enter (and search) a property without a warrant. They also have a general power to enter to arrest someone or ‘to save life or limb’. So if, for example, an ambulance crew arrive and are refused entry by the occupier they’ll call the Police for help.
They can use this power if they feel they need to gain entry to save or protect someone’s life. But if the ambulance service is already inside dealing with the situation, the power to save life or limb is lessened. The necessity would be less likely to require them to enter as well, but if there is distress or cries for help they may well still do so, they often work alongside ambulance services.
It’s possible that refusing entry will look suspicious, but if there is no disturbance, or signs of serious crime, as the occupier you have the right to say no.
The law that deals with drug offences is the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984