A new initiative by Kent Police aims to reduce sexual offences and protect people who enjoy nightlife in the county.

The initiative involves a team of specialist officers who are trained to spot signs of predatory behaviour, such as sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, and loitering, in public areas around nightclubs, bars and pubs.

When plain clothes officers observe this kind of behaviour, they will alert uniformed officers who will intervene and take appropriate action to stop and prevent this behaviour, which may include arrest.

The officers will patrol various locations across the county and will also provide support and guidance to vulnerable people to help them stay safe.

Vigilant Latest
Officers on patrol in Canterbury

In action

  • As part of the initiative in Canterbury on Thursday 7 December, a 20-year-old man was seen talking to a lone woman, who it seemed he did not know. He was monitored from a distance as he approached two other women, who then appeared upset. Uniformed officers followed and spoke to the man, who was subsequently arrested for a public order offence.
  • On Friday 15 December, plain clothes officers saw a 20-year-old man approaching women in the city’s High Street. A woman he spoke to told officers he had made inappropriate comments and he was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.
  • On the same evening, a group of boys was observed making inappropriate comments elsewhere in the city. The boys were challenged by uniformed police and warned they risked arrest if they did not cease the behaviour and leave the area, which they all did, getting a bus home.

Latest tactic

Chief Inspector Omid Changizi, of Kent Police’s Partnerships and Communities Team, said:

‘This new tactic, which is part of the national Project Vigilant scheme, is another way in which Kent Police is ensuring everyone feels safe when they are out socialising.

‘The team is in addition to regular patrols and response officers, and also builds on the work we have done with licenced premises, such as the Best Bar None scheme.

‘Our goal is to keep our community safe by actively watching out for and stopping people who might cause harm, especially in the night-time economy.

‘We’re working hard to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour from happening and make sure everyone feels safe and respected.’

By Ed

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