Staggering 201 men stopped by Thames Valley Police in project to reduce violence against women

Thames Valley Police has release the latest results of Project Vigilant, targeting those who display predatory behaviour in the night-time economy.

By Hannah Richardson
Monday, 28th March 2022, 5:46 pm
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 5:54 pm

The last results that were published covered the period from when the night-time economy reopened in July 2021 through to the beginning of October 2021.

Since then, the force has used Home Office SWAN (Safety of Women At Night) funding to recruit a dedicated sergeant to co-ordinate Project Vigilant forcewide and is overseeing an academic evaluation of the project.

The funding has also been used to train 95 officers across the force in behavioural detection.

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Officers have also been working with British Transport Police to conduct joint deployments across the railway network.

Between July 23 2021 and March 23 2022, 201 men were stopped across the force as a result of the initiative, with one in five of them having prior links to offending related to violence against women and girls.

The force says positive interactions with officers conducting Project Vigilant patrols has resulted in women having the confidence to report crime to them, leading to arrest. This includes sexual offending and crime linked to domestic abuse.

Twenty-seven men were stopped for harassment, stalking and unwanted behaviour towards women and 37 men were stopped loitering near to places where police know predatory behaviour and sexual offending has occurred.

Project Vigilant targets those displaying predatory behaviour in the night-time economy

Of those stopped, six arrests were made for a variety of sexual offending and harassing behaviour.

Detective Chief Inspector James Senior said: “Since the reopening of the night-time economy in July last year, officers working on Project Vigilant have stopped over 200 people that have been displaying predatory or inappropriate behaviour.

" I hope that this sends a clear message to potential offenders that this behaviour is not tolerated and we want to make the Thames Valley a hostile place for those that may be thinking of committing an offence.

"The operation aims to build public confidence, particularly in women being able to make reports to us, and we have had instances across the force where women have approached officers after they have intervened to report domestic abuse and sexual offending. This has led to violence against women and girls arrests relating to incidents they may never have reported.

“Project Vigilant is just one of the ways in which we are committed to tackling violence against women and girls and we will continue to do this through joint working with our partners.”

British Transport Police Chief Inspector John Angell said: “Project Vigilant has already seen some really promising results, and we hope by teaming up with Thames Valley Police and adopting some of these successful tactics, we’ll create a hostile environment for offenders.

“We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses any form of sexual harassment on the railway to report it to us by texting 61016. No report is small or trivial and we will always take you seriously.

"Each report we receive provides us with valuable information which we can use to build a picture of an offender. Often it allows us to notice a pattern of offending behaviour and we will take action.”

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