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Calling 999: ambulance call-outs, and the police

Met Police (London) guidance on chemsex (2018)

In July 2018, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) issued guidance on chemsex and what they do if they are called.

The guidance was removed from the MPS website in 2023, but there is a PDF here or click below.


Chemsex is a term used to describe sex (often long sessions with multiple partners) under the influence of psychoactive drugs (particularly mephedrone, GHB, GBL and crystal meth).

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 us, but we hope this advice will address those concerns.

This information has been produced by working with LGBT advisers to the police and third party agencies with experience of supporting victims of sexual violence under the influence of drugs.

If you’re under the influence of drugs

All allegations of crime are taken seriously and sexual assaults are dealt with sensitively by specially trained officers. They’re trained to 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 to give a proper account of what happened, and legally agree (consent) to a medical examination, if that's required. If you aren’t able to they can take some basic information and take a statement and tests at a later date.

It’s also important that we know from the start if there were any drugs and/or alcohol involved, because if it comes out later it might affect how well you are believed. Not because you’ve taken drugs, but because you didn’t give the full information from the beginning, which might look like you’re trying to hide something.

You won’t be arrested for using or telling us you’ve used drugs; that isn’t illegal.

You can report to us online, by calling 101 if it isn’t an emergency, and on 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.

If you want to report to us anonymously, you can do that.

Some recommended ways to report anonymously:

  1. Crimestoppers
  2. through The Havens (an organisation that helps people who have been raped or sexually assaulted)
  3. if you’re a sex worker you can go through National Ugly Mugs
  4. through one of our partners such as Galop or Survivors UK

If you're in possession of drugs

If you tell us you’re in possession of drugs, or that you supplied (shared or sold) drugs in the past, we can’t ignore this, as physical possession, supply, or possession with intent to supply (PWITS) are criminal offences.

If you were the victim of a crime when you were taking drugs, and you don’t tell us but it comes out later, it might affect any future court case. You might be seen as a less reliable witness or victim because you kept information back, but you'll be able to explain why you did this.

The law that deals with drug offences is the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

If you’re arrested.

You won’t be arrested for using drugs while having sex; if you admit to criminal offences (for example, supply of drugs, committing rape or other sexual offences) you’ll be arrested.

If you work with children or vulnerable adults (as an employee or volunteer) we might tell them you've been arrested, but this depends on the offence and other things. This is called a disclosure.

There’s no set list of jobs or types of jobs that will trigger us telling your employer, or an organisation where you volunteer, if you’re arrested. Instead, we have the power to decide what information to disclose, and who to – this is under the Common Law Police Disclosure (CLPD) scheme.

We'll only disclose information if we 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.' We 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, we'll definitely think about making a disclosure. The decision will be based on:

  1. your job/type of work
  2. the offence being investigated
  3. any specific circumstances
  4. an assessment of risk to an individual or group of people

Any disclosure has to be authorised by an experienced officer.

We can’t make a decision about what happens with your job – we 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.

Will police attend if an ambulance is called?

We work with the ambulance service to work out when we need to attend if they are called.

We may attend if:

  1. there’s suspicion that a crime has been committed
  2. entry (to the premises) may need to be forced to let the ambulance crew in
  3. the patient may be a danger to themselves
  4. the patient may be a danger to the ambulance crew

There are lots of specific reasons why we can enter (and search) a property without a warrant. We 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 us for help.

We can then use our power if we feel we need to gain entry to save or protect someone’s life. But if the ambulance service are already inside dealing with the situation the power to save life or limb wouldn’t apply, as it wouldn’t be necessary to enter.

It’s possible that refusing entry will look suspicious, but you have the right to say no.

The law that deals with drug offences is the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Click here


Asking why, GMHC was informed "It has been removed as it was outdated and contained a number of inaccuracies. Developing new copy is taking time. The ask is that there needs to be accurate advice and guidance for the public on this outward facing national platform. This isn’t straight forward due to the complexity of what is present, the fact that drugs are involved and because Chemsex cuts across multiple areas within policing and vulnerability."

We believe the (old) guidance should have remained online (with appropriate caveats) until the new guidance is active. For over six months, MPS guidance on chemsex remains conspicuous by its absence which disadvantages LGBTQ+ Londoners and professionals working in the chemsex field.

Our thoughts on the (old) 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.

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