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Officers investigating a sexual offence in Portsmouth in the early hours of Wednesday morning (1 March) have made an arrest.
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 enquiries into the circumstances of the incident are ongoing.
As part of our investigation we have arrested a 23-year-old man from Kent on suspicion of rape. He has been released on conditional police bail while our enquiries continue.
Detective Inspector Richard Gibson said: “We would like to reassure our residents that we take all reports of this nature extremely seriously and are conducting extensive and thorough enquiries to determine the circumstances of this incident.
“Officers have been in the area conducting enquiries, and have also spent the weekend patrolling our busiest pubs, clubs and restaurants, including the Palmerston Road and Guildhall Walk areas. This will continue into next weekend, and 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 neighbourhood officers and Portsmouth City Council, regularly visit pubs, bars and other venues in Portsmouth to create a safer space for customers. Part of this work involves 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 or our street pastors who are also in the Guildhall Walk area on Friday and Saturday nights. 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.”
Anyone with information regarding the incident in the early hours of Wednesday morning should call police on 101 quoting reference 44230086327. Alternatively, go online and submit information via https://www.hampshire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/