A former Metropolitan Police detective has explained a surprising act that constitutes spiking, even if you don’t realise it. Ciara, a qualified teacher and detective who runs The Real Project, has warned of the 'innocent' act that could get you in trouble.

Ciara is a London-based former teacher who went on to train as a detective with the Metropolitan Police. She left the force in 2024, having worked in departments investigating domestic abuse and organised crime.

She set up The Real Project and its various social media channels to help teach the British public about the law surrounding relationships and sex, as well as helping people find support should they need it. In a video from Monday, March 18, Ciara explained a scenario that people may not realise constitutes ‘spiking’.

The law states: “It is a crime to maliciously administer, cause to administer or cause to be taken by any other person any poison or destructive or noxious thing, such as to endanger their life, cause them grievous bodily harm, or intentionally injure, aggrieve, or annoy them.”

Ciara said in her video: “Here’s a scenario you probably didn’t know constitutes spiking. Your friend offers to buy you a drink and you ask for a single gin and tonic. They buy you a double gin and tonic but they don’t tell you, because they think you’ll have more fun if you get drunker quicker.”

She added: “They’ve spiked you. It is illegal for anybody to give somebody a larger dosage of alcohol than they’ve asked for or they’re aware of.

“And it’s absolutely irrelevant whether their intentions are good. For example, they want you to catch up drinking because you’ve arrived late to a night out, or they think that you’ll be less nervous if you get drunk quicker. It’s also irrelevant if what they’ve done is described as being a ‘prank’ or a joke.”

Ciara went on to explain: “None of these are defences in court. Just because they are your friend, doesn’t make it okay.”

Section 24 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 is the main legislation relevant to spiking, which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. However, there are a number of criminal offences which can see people charged and sentenced for.

These include Section 18 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 (wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm) carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, Section 23 of Offences against the Person Act 1861 (maliciously administering etc. poison etc so to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm) has a maximum of ten years in prison.

Section 61 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (administering etc. a substance with intent to engage in a non-consensual sexual activity) has two maximum penalties depending on the court it’s tried in (six months imprisonment or a fine in a magistrates’ court, or ten years in a Crown Court).

For more information on The Real Project, visit here.