Milton Keynes joins Oxford, Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead policing areas as it launches Project Vigilant.
Project Vigilant was first piloted by Thames Valley Police in Oxford in 2019 and utilises uniformed and plain clothed officers to prevent sexual offending in the night time economy.
Individuals displaying predatory behaviour such as loitering, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching will be identified by plain clothed officers. They will notify uniformed officers who will respond and engage with individuals accordingly.
Plain clothed officers will not enter venues and licensed premises, but will instead patrol areas around clubs and bars, and increase patrols as people leave at closing time. Officers will also work closely alongside door staff and venue management to keep people safe.
Since its initial pilot in Oxford, the success of Project Vigilant as a proactive preventative measure for sexual violence, has been recognised nationally by the government and is now launching across the Thames Valley as well as in other police force areas across England and Wales.
Detective Inspector Jason Simpson, based at Milton Keynes station, said: “Milton Keynes has a thriving night time economy with many bars, pubs and clubs. We have seen a steady increase in people returning to the town to enjoy a night out with friends and family and expect this to increase as lockdown restrictions ease and venues are able to start returning to normal trade.
“Project Vigilant is just one of the many tactics we are using to police the night time economy. No one should have to tolerate unwanted sexual behaviour and officers will continue to make Milton Keynes a hostile place for those contemplating committing sexual offences.”