West Mercia Police Focuses On Serious Sexual Crime
As part of a new campaign called ‘Safe Night Out' launching this Friday (13 July), extra officers will be on duty across the force area, speaking to young people on their way out for the night to encourage them not to drink too much, to stay in control and to look after their friends.
Working with key partners in the night-time economy, officers will also be around at the end of the night to ensure that women know who they are leaving the club with, while also seeing that those who have had too much to drink are put into taxis so they get home safely.
Detective Inspector Callie Bradley from the force's Public Protection Unit said: "Research shows young people aged between 13 and 24 are most likely to become victims of a serious sexual offence between 9pm and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights and that the number of rapes and serious sexual offences increase between June and August.
"This campaign aims to tackle that issue and that is why we are putting more officers on our streets over the next three weekends."
The emphasis will be on town and city centres across Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire, where officers both in uniform and plain clothes will make a point of talking to young people as they leave clubs, bars and fast foot outlets.
Det Insp Bradley added: "Drinking to excess might seem like fun at the time, but it can make you extremely vulnerable - whether you're a man or a woman.
"When you drink your inhibitions are much lower, which might cause you to take risks you wouldn't usually take. This could mean going home with someone you don't know and - in the worst cases - end up being a victim or offender of a serious sexual offence.
"While this campaign is primarily targeted at ensuring that women drink sensibly and get home safely, I would also like to remind young men that sex without consent is rape. It is up to the man to make sure a woman consents before intercourse takes place and any man who does not do this can expect to be arrested and face the consequences.
"While we want young people to enjoy themselves during a night out, it is important that they take responsibility for their actions so they don't wake up with regrets in the morning."
The following tips will help people avoid situations which put them at risk:
- Don't drink too much. Know your limit and stick to it.
- Never leave your drink unattended. If a drink tastes unusual or smells odd, don't drink it.
- Look after your friends. Stick together when you're out and about or stop to get money from the cash machine.
- Walk away from trouble. Don't get involved, simply walk away and contact the police.
- Don't walk home alone. Always walk in groups. Stick to main roads and avoid shortcuts and unlit areas.
- If you're getting a taxi, make sure it's a licensed cab.
You can find out more about West Mercia Police's ‘Safe Night Out' campaign by visiting: http://www.westmercia.police.uk/safenightout/