Police and partners join together to make Southampton safer at night
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As we approach the 19 July, when the lockdown restrictions are lifted and the night time economy fully re-opens, it follows that we may see an increase in the numbers of people out in the evenings, enjoying the many bars, clubs and restaurants Southampton has to offer.
To prepare for this, Hampshire Constabulary has come together with a number of partners to work on improving measures to help people feel safer when they are out at night, with a focus on tackling violence against women and girls.
Deputy District Commander, Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said “This has been a difficult and challenging year and we know many people are now looking forward to a night out with friends in the many venues Southampton has to offer, and we too are looking forward to seeing people out having fun.
“Southampton is a diverse city with a thriving night time economy where everyone is welcome and entitled to have a safe and enjoyable night out.
“Violence, sexual violence and harassment will simply not be tolerated in our city and having a few drinks does not excuse criminal behaviour.
“Anyone who is seen to commit a crime can expect to be dealt with robustly.
“We have been working closely with partners over many months to look at ways we can support people and in particular, make sure women and girls feel safer and confident they will be able to get home safely at the end of the night.
“It is therefore important that people know who they can turn to for support in the event of something taking place that makes them feel unsafe, or experiences any form of criminal behaviour, such as sexual harassment or violence.
“Teaming up with our Neighbourhood Policing teams, the city’s street pastors - a group of friendly volunteers, will be patrolling the city streets throughout the night, offering practical help and support to anyone who needs it.
“Door staff at venues across the city, supported by officers from licensing and Neighbourhood Policing teams, will be helping to spot the signs of someone who is vulnerable, being abused, harassed, or needs help. But you don’t have to wait for them to come to you – you can approach them for help and they will act quickly to give you the right support.
“Many of the city venues will also be operating the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative and these venues will display a sticker in their window or on the door to let you know. If someone is making you feel threatened or uncomfortable, you can approach the bar or door staff and ask for ‘Angela’. Staff will then discreetly offer to separate you from the person who is causing you distress and ensure that you are able to leave safely.
“In addition to responding to reports of incidents, officers from our licensing and Neighbourhood Policing teams will carry out patrols throughout the night to engage with people on the street and make sure everyone is happy and safe. They will also turn up to venues and help staff identify anyone appearing vulnerable, to protect them and prevent them from becoming a potential victim of crime.
“In addition, officers along with staff at venues will respond to and challenge anyone who is exhibiting harassing or intimidating behaviour.
“We are committed to working alongside our partners to ensure everyone who lives, works and visits Southampton, has a safe and enjoyable time.
“We encourage anyone who feels uncomfortable whilst on a night out to approach patrolling officers, street pastors, venue or door staff. If no one is available and you feel unsafe, you can call 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”
More information about Southampton’s Street Pastors and their role in the night-time economy can be found here: https://streetpastors.org/locations/southampton/
We work closely with our local domestic and sexual abuse charities, Yellow Door and the Hampton Trust, who offer support and advice to anyone affected by sexual violence or domestic abuse.
For more details about Yellow Door and the services they offer, please visit their website: https://yellowdoor.org.uk/ and for the Hampton Trust, please visit their website: https://hamptontrust.org.uk/about-us/