Ambulance call-outs and the police

In July 2018, the Metropolitan police issued guidance on chemsex and what they do if they are called. The guidance has been produced working with LGBT advisors to the police (including the Gay Men’s Health Collective and Release) and third party agencies with experience of supporting victims of sexual violence under the influence of drugs.

You can read the guidance in the August 2018 edition of our Chemsex booklet. Please contact us with your name address if you would like to be sent a copy of the booklet.

Our thoughts on the guidance

This guidance is based on the position of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), which covers the Greater London area. Whilst police forces in other parts of the country can look to the MPS for working practices, they might actually do things differently. Whilst this guidance does not provide clear protection against investigation of a drug-related offence, it is absolutely right that drug use is not an offence in the UK.

However, possession and/ or possession with intent to supply a control drug is, and if you are questioned about these specific activities you should say nothing until you have a solicitor to represent you, or have at least spoken to one. But, the possibility of being questioned by the police should not be a reason to not call an ambulance if there has been an overdose or some other incident that needs medical help.

Calling an ambulance in an overdose situation can save lives. Ensuring friends get the right medical help if they need it is the top priority. However, there have been occasions when an ambulance has not been called because guys are fearful the police will turn up as well, and that if there has been a fatality this could lead to arrest and investigation.

Unfortunately, we cannot advise you to air rooms, tidy up, shower and put on some clothes and send your house guests away because (if a crime has been committed under the law, and evidence is removed or destroyed as a result) we could be arrested and prosecuted for actively encouraging you to do this.

The best advice we can give you is to always call an ambulance if you think someone’s life is at risk.

Chemsex advice and information | Metropolitan Police | July 2018
Safer Chemsex booklet | Web version | 2020 | MENRUS.CO.UK
Play Safer (Drug) Campaign | 2020 | MENRUS.CO.UK