Police operation targets sex attackers in Wakefield

Insp Richard Close of the Wakefield Central neighbourhood police team.

Insp Richard Close of the Wakefield Central neighbourhood police team.

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REVELLERS enjoying a night out in the city centre will be targeted by police in an operation to cut rapes and sexual attacks.

Anti-drink spike devices and safety advice will be handed out by police and volunteers on Saturday nights starting from tomorrow.

It is part Operation Northdale – an initiative which has proven to cut sexual offences when it has been put into force during previous summer and Christmas periods

Insp Richard Close said: “While we want people to go out and have fun, we urge them to drink responsibly and not make themselves vulnerable through binge-drinking.

“It is vital that people look out for bogus taxi drivers and ensure that, when they do take a taxi, it is either pre-booked or is from a recognised rank.

“Our teams of officers and volunteers will be out providing reassurance to revellers, in particular, vulnerable women and I hope people continue to sit up and take note of these important messages and keep themselves safe and out of trouble.”

In the past Operation Northdale achieved reductions in rapes and sexual offences of 52 and 71 per cent.

It also won the Association of Chief Police Officers 2010 Excellence in Policing award.

Barbara Siedlecki, manager of the Star (Surviving Trauma After Rape) support service based on Laburnum Road, welcomed the return of the operation.

She said: “Anything which can raise awareness and increase safety is worth while.

“Because people go out, they let their guard down a little bit maybe because they’ve had a bit to drink and they are unaware that something horrible could happen to them.

To contact Star call the helpline on 01924 298 954 or visit www.starproject.co.uk