Appeal to the public following report of sexual offence in Portsmouth
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We are appealing to the public as part of our investigation into a sexual offence reported to have taken place in the early hours of Wednesday morning (1 March).
A 19-year-old woman reported a sexual offence that took place after she had left Astoria nightclub, sometime between 2.30am and 3.30am.
The woman involved is being supported by specialist officers and an investigation into the circumstances of the incident is underway.
Detective Inspector Richard Gibson said: “We would like to reassure our residents that we take all reports of this nature extremely seriously and are currently conducting extensive and thorough enquiries to determine the circumstances of this incident.
“Officers will be in the area conducting enquiries, and will also be patrolling our busiest pubs, clubs and restaurants over the weekend, including the Palmerston Road and Guildhall Walk areas. We will continue our focus on spotting the signs of behavioural traits of potential offenders, working in partnership with our licensed premises to identify individuals at risk as well as perpetrators.
“Our licensing team, in partnership with neighbourhoods officers and Portsmouth City Council, regularly visit pubs, bars and other venues in Portsmouth, engaging with members of staff, including door staff, to help them spot the signs of someone who is vulnerable, being abused or in need of help, and provide venues with training and a toolkit so that they can take practical steps to make a safer environment.
“If you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or vulnerable then please approach staff or security staff at any of our licensed venues, patrolling officers who will be visible across the weekend or our street pastors who will also be in the Guildhall Walk area over the weekend. You can also visit South Central Ambulance Service’s Safe Space, which will be based at the Civic Offices, opposite the Guildhall, between 10pm and 3am on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“Sexual violence comes in many forms – it can be discomforting and sexualised commentary, unwanted advances and harassment, as well as physical violence. If you experience any of these behaviours – whether this is while you’re out in the community, on a night out, at work, or indeed even in your own home, please tell us or a support service.”