A multi-agency operation to safeguard vulnerable people will take place over the weekend of 23 – 24 July 2021 in Rochester to coincide with the reopening of the night-time economy.
Statistically, reports of rape and sexual assaults peak during the summer months, in the late evening and early hours. Last year many people stayed at home but in 2019 reports of sexual offences increased between May and September in Medway.
Whilst there are no specific concerns in Rochester, the city does have a vibrant nightlife and officers predict heavy footfall over the coming months as people find themselves free of restrictions and able to go out and have a good time.
Superintendent Rob Marsh said: ‘Rochester is a popular location for people to enjoy the night-time economy due to its mix of bars, restaurants and clubs. Officers will always respond to reports of crime, but it is also important we work with our partner agencies to prevent it.
‘Kent Police will be working with Medway Council, security firms, and the Safer Medway Partnership along with Street Pastors to ensure a visible presence, friendly support and robust enforcement where necessary.
‘Street Pastors give up their own time to help safeguard vulnerable people. Their efforts have certainly helped care for those who have needed it, ensuring people got home safely, who may have otherwise found themselves in trouble during the early hours.
‘No one should expect to be a victim of crime and we want people to have fun without worrying about their personal safety.
‘The stark reality though is that anyone walking home alone after a night out can be vulnerable – whether you are a man or a woman. Our job is to do everything we can to keep communities safe and that includes preventive work like this and regularly reminding people of the simple steps that can be taken to lessen the chances of becoming a victim of crime.’
Superintendent Rob Marsh
Both uniformed and plain-clothed officers will therefore be out in the city every Friday and Saturday night for the next few weeks, helping keep people safe and making sure those who have committed such heinous crimes are arrested and put before the courts.
Anyone who suspects a crime has taken place should report it straight away, online or by calling 999 in an emergency.
Advice on personal safety during a night out:
- Never accept a drink from a stranger, i.e. a glass of wine or an open bottle. Go with the person to the bar if you want to accept a drink.
- Never leave your drink unattended, as it is very easy for someone to add an illegal substance, which could have very serious consequences for you.
- Always make sure you know how you are going to get home after a night out. Choose to book a taxi home before going out, do not flag down a taxi on the night as you cannot be sure they are a licensed cab driver.
- It is best to travel home with friends and not on your own. If you do then walk along well-lit main roads.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading, looking at your phone and listening to music can be distracting.
- In a busy public place, try to only use your mobile phone in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone and whilst using it you are distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
- If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
- If you are attacked it is often better to shout ‘fire’ rather than ‘help’, it tends to attract more attention.
Statistics show a rise in sexual offences during the summer months in the Medway area.