york police

Project Vigilant: seeking out those who prey on vulnerable people in busy locations at night

25 September 2023

North Yorkshire Police is deploying a specialist team of officers in York’s night-time (NTE) economy to help prevent sexual offences and keep people safe.

The force is taking part in “Project Vigilant” which is a national police operation. It was launched in 2019 by Thames Valley Police to seek out those who prey on vulnerable people in busy locations at night. Deployments are planned in York on a regular basis throughout the rest of the year.

As part of its commitment to the project, North Yorkshire Police is deploying officers from various teams who are specially trained to identify the tell-tale signs that identify an individual who is in the area with a criminal intention.

Plain clothed officers will patrol designated areas and will flag any person of concern to uniformed officers. The uniformed officers will then move in to engage and where appropriate they will also take positive action.

Project Vigilant officers also seek to ensure that vulnerable people in the night-time economy are kept safe, reuniting them with friends if they become separated or referring them to partner agencies such as the Street Angels or the Yorkshire Ambulance Service if there is a medical concern.

The team of officers will also engage with vulnerable people to offer advice about keeping themselves safe and ensuring that they have a suitable way of returning home at the end of the night.

Project Vigilant, Detective Chief Inspector Carol Kirk said:

York is a destination city with a vibrant night-time economy.

On evenings and weekends – when we see the most activity – we deploy our new team of specially trained officers on Project Vigilant.

The team is trained to use a variety of tactics to prevent sexual offending and protect vulnerable people.

This deployment will help us ensure that we fulfil our commitment of making sure the public in York are safe and feel safe.

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