Police are launching a new operation to prevent sexual offending in Northamptonshire’s town centres, as Government restrictions ease and crowds are due to flock back to the county’s nightclubs.
Operation Kayak begins this Friday, July 23, when non-uniformed officers will start patrolling hotspot areas of the county’s towns, sending a strong message to potential offenders: Predatory behaviour will not be tolerated in Northamptonshire.
Officers on Operation Kayak patrols will seek to identify those displaying predatory or suspicious behaviour like loitering, leering, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching and when they see it, they will act quickly by engaging with the individual, which may involve a simple conversation or an arrest if any offences have been committed.
Non-uniformed officers will not enter venues but will instead work alongside door staff and venue management. Any concerns will be raised to officers who will respond accordingly.
Detective Superintendent Paul Rymarz, the Force’s Head of Crime said: “Northamptonshire Police is committed to ensuring our streets are safe and Operation Kayak is intended to help do this by making the county a hostile place for those intent on committing sexual offences.
“This proactive approach sends out a clear message – we are committed to making the streets safer and this is just one way in which we are working to tackle any unacceptable behaviour.”
Detective Inspector Liz Basham, who is leading the operation said: “Government restrictions are lifting and we want people to enjoy an evening out without feeling fearful – we want them to feel reassured that we have officers patrolling the streets keeping a watchful eye out for potential offenders.
“Operation Kayak is a joint effort and we are working alongside CCTV operators, Community Safety Partnerships, door staff, fast food outlets and other working in the night time economy to spread the message that offenders are unwelcome in our towns.”
If you see someone acting suspiciously, please call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency or approach an officer. If you are out and feel unsafe you can also speak to the nearest pub or club staff member for assistance too.