Police in Harrogate and Craven are undertaking a pro-active campaign encouraging people to take care of themselves when out partying over the festive season.
It comes following a history of increased demand over the Christmas and New Year period. Police know this is a time people tend to go out and drink more alcohol than usual and so this is an opportune time to convey the important messages of encouraging personal safety.
North Yorkshire Police will be deploying experienced detectives during December who will use their skills to intervene in situations, ask relevant questions and offer advice to people on nights out. The officers will be patrolling areas around popular hotspots for night-time drinking, including hotels and taxi ranks.
The aim of this targeted activity is to ensure people are not putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
Police are working with local partners, local licensing and door staff who have been provided with awareness training. Along with local street marshals and street pastors to ensure people have a good and safe night.
Detective Inspector Phil Coward, from the Harrogate Serious Crime Team, said:
We want to make sure that while people are out enjoying themselves they also keep themselves and each other safe from harm.
It is a disturbing fact that reports of sexual assault do occur this time of year, and we know that alcohol is a contributing factor in a number of those incidents. We are not saying don’t go out and drink alcohol. Nor are we wanting to raise fear of this type of crime.
Our message is simple – saying ‘yes’ to a drink doesn’t mean saying ‘yes’ to sex. No matter how much fun you are having with others and no matter how much you have had to drink, consent to any type of sexual activity should never ever be assumed.
If consent has not clearly been given, then there is a risk of an individual becoming a victim of sexual crime and someone finding themselves spending time in a police cell having been arrested for sexual assault or rape. The suspected offender will then also be subjected to a lengthy, intrusive and personal police investigation.
Sexual assault and rape shatter lives and is the most distressing and despicable type of crime.
We want to encourage everyone to be mindful of the potential serious consequences when under the influence of alcohol and prevent lives being ruined – we have seen it happen all too easily. Have fun but please look after yourselves and each other.
If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault then call the police on 101. We take any report of this type of crime extremely seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation and make sure you are supported by specially trained officers.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to report the incident to the police, you can access support and advice from Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).
Telephone the SARC on 01904 669339 and leave a confidential message and someone from the centre will call you back, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and advice is also available from the Website: www.turntobridgehouse.org