DORSET Police have released information to help prevent sexual assaults during Freshers Week.

The police have said they would like to remind everyone that there are safe spaces available where they can get help, which includes approaching a police officer, council worker or member of door staff security on a night out.

The dedicated university neighbourhood team which has close contact with the universities in Bournemouth, will be attending upcoming freshers’ events to help raise awareness of crime prevention.

The policing team have released the following advice about personal safety:

Be sensible when drinking alcohol and know your limits.

Avoid leaving your drink unattended to stop the potential of drink spiking.

Plan how you’re getting home and who you’ll be going with. Look after your friends, particularly if they’re a bit more vulnerable after having a few drinks.

If you’re walking home, make sure you’re not alone and stick to well-lit areas.

Only use licensed taxis.

Keep your mobile on you, make sure it’s charged, and it has data and call minutes that you can use if you need to.

In August 2021, Dorset Police launched a pilot operation in a bid to prevent sexual offences from taking place within Bournemouth town centre as there were more people enjoying the area's bars and clubs.

Using a combination of uniformed and plain-clothed officers, Operation Vigilant patrols will be carried out to identify individuals who may be displaying signs of unacceptable behaviour, such as sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and loitering. Plain-clothed officers will call in a uniformed intervention team when such behaviours are observed.

The intervention team will then consider their powers of arrest, dispersal powers or search powers depending on the circumstances observed.

The operation will be carried out on a frequent basis and supports the national agenda for proactively preventing violence against women and girls. However, any sexually motivated assault or behaviour identified by officers will be investigated, regardless of who is involved or their gender. The pilot will run for three months in Bournemouth town centre and has subsequently expanded into Weymouth town centre.

Officers will be carrying out regular patrols in the county’s town centres to police the night-time economy and will be working closely with partner agencies and licensed premises to enable people to enjoy their night out.

Throughout the year the Safe Bus is also available. Staffed by volunteers, including special constables, police community support officers, paramedics, club chaplains and alcohol addiction counsellors, the bus provides a safe place for vulnerable people to go at night.

The Safe Bus runs all year and is based in Bournemouth Town Centre on Horseshoe Common BH1 1NL.