Heading ‘out out’ this summer?
11/06/2024 12:30 in Community

With the summer season now under way, Hertfordshire Constabulary is urging people to ensure it is one to remember for all the right reasons.

If you’re heading out to a musical festival, event or just planning a big night out, it’s important to consider the consequences that your actions might have.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Macbeth, from the Constabulary’s Safeguarding Command, said: “Now that the weather is starting to improve, the football is looming, festivals and events are in full swing, we know that people will be planning big nights out and making the most of what the night-time economy in Hertfordshire has to offer.

“In Hertfordshire, we work closely with organisers of local events and festivals, as well as local bars, pubs, and clubs to share safety advice and ensure that everyone is able to have a safe and enjoyable time.

“Sadly, we know there’s a minority of people out there who may see this time of year as an excuse to forget normal standards of behaviour, and this is simply not acceptable. Our message to everyone is to really think hard about their actions towards others and the impact they may have.

“What you may perceive to be harmless fun could actually cause a great deal of distress and you may even find yourself guilty of a criminal offence.

“It is particularly important to remember that sex without consent is rape; this includes sex with anyone, male or female, who is incapacitated as a result of alcohol or drugs. Offenders could find themselves facing a prison sentence and being placed on the sex offenders’ register, affecting their career prospects, travel plans and future relationships.”

In December 2023, Hertfordshire Constabulary officially launched Project Vigilant, a proactive policing operation targeting perpetrators in the night-time economy. Since then, this initiative has been rolled out across Watford, Stevenage, St Albans, North Hertfordshire and Hertford. As part of a deployment, specially trained officers in plain clothes are sent into the night-time economy to spot for signs of sexual predatory behaviour outside the bars, clubs and surrounding areas such as car parks and alley ways. The plain-clothed officers integrate themselves among the public and highlight anyone of concern before their uniformed counterparts take positive action – which may include arrest.

The types of behaviours the officers are looking for include making unwanted contact towards females, harassing or stalking behaviour, loitering without a legitimate reason, sexualised or misogynistic comments and general sexually inappropriate behaviour, to name a few. 

If you feel uncomfortable, or have concerns about someone’s behaviour whilst on a night out or at an event, please do not hesitate to report it to staff, security or to the police.

Becoming a victim of a sexual assault is never your fault. If you have been a victim, please don’t hesitate to report it. The constabulary has specialist officers on hand to provide advice and support throughout an investigation. It also has a number of officers who are specially trained to provide support to members of the LGBT+ community.

You can report information online at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat at herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency number 101.

Additionally, Herts SARC offers practical and emotional support to anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault. Their services are free and independent, meaning you do not have to have contacted police in order to access them.

To contact Herts SARC, call the 24/7 helpline on 0808 178 4448, email Herts.SARC@nhs.net or visit www.hertssarc.org.


For further advice and information visit https://www.herts.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/