New police project to combat sexual assault launched in Milton Keynes

Project Vigilant is active in Milton Keynes.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 2:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 2:44 pm

Milton Keynes has become the latest area of the Thames Valley to adopt a new initative to combat sexual assaults.

Thames Valley Police announced today (July 14), that Project Vigilant would be launched in the borough.

The scheme involves plain clothed officers monitoring the behaviour of the public throughout the evening, night and early morning. If these plain clothed officers spot predatory behaviour such as loitering, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching they can notify on duty police to take action.

Project Vigilant has been launched in Milton Keynes by the Thames Valley Police
Project Vigilant has been launched in Milton Keynes by the Thames Valley Police

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.

Project vigilant was first used by the Thames Valley Police in 2019 in Oxford, Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead and remains active in these places.

The initial pilot for the project took place in Oxford, police say that the scheme has since received recognition from the government, hence the expansion. Similar projects are being launched throughout England and Wales, the police force say.

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.”