Avon and Somerset Constabulary to trial new initiative to prevent sexual offences on nights out

Avon and Somerset Constabulary will be trialling a new proactive policing initiative over the coming months to target and prevent sexual offences from taking place on a night out.

Apr 26, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Last year, the force received 3,539 reports of sexual offences across Avon and Somerset, 84 per cent of which were reported by women and girls.

As part of this operation, plain-clothed officers will patrol busy night-time areas to identify those displaying signs of predatory behaviour, such as loitering, harassment and following lone women.

“If such behaviour is spotted, uniformed officers will intervene, checking that everyone involved is safe and preventing any further offences from taking place,” the force said.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Marsh said: “This operation will allow officers to identify possible predatory behaviour which could indicate someone looking to commit a sexual offence.

“Our officers have received specialist training to identify patterns of behaviour which may pose a risk to women, girls or vulnerable people, allowing us to step in before any offences have occurred.

“Our intention is not to disrupt anyone’s night out or stop people from having fun, We hope that having this presence around our pubs, clubs, bars and busy street areas will mean women can feel safer on a night out.”

In a similar initiative, Thames Valley Police launched ‘Project Vigilant’ in 2019 and it has proved successful in identifying potential offenders and reducing sexual offences by 30 per cent in Oxford.

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