Police to launch rape awareness campaign - Operation Decide

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Police are set to launch a rape awareness campaign this weekend as they step up patrols during the Christmas period.

On Saturday officers, working with Safer MK, will launch Operation Decide to make sure people are aware of the seriousness of the offence of rape and are reminded of the need to stay safe.

The launch of the campaign will coincide with the opening of the Safer MK Safe Hut which will be open on Friday and Saturday nights during December.

Posters featuring the following messages will be displayed around Milton Keynes:

Drunk doesn’t mean ‘Yes’. If you have sex with someone too drunk you commit rape

Flirting isn’t an invitation. If you have sex without her consent you commit rape

Flirting isn’t an invitation. If you have sex without his consent you commit rape

Who’s walking you home? In most rape cases women know their attacker

Going out alone? You need to stay safe. Plan how you’re getting home

Going out? Stay with friends and make sure get home safely

Who’s walking you home? Stay with friends and make you get home safely

The varied messages are directed at both offenders and victims.

The messages will be printed as posters and placed in busy areas of the city and put up in nightclubs and pubs.

The message ‘Drunk doesn’t mean yes’ will be printed on t-shirts and worn by nightclub staff. The messages will also be printed on small cards and given to groups staying in local hotels as well as to taxi drivers who will be encouraged to give them out to their passengers.

Officers are being directed to identify individuals who are vulnerable to sexual assault due to being too drunk and are being encouraged to intervene if they feel an offence might take place.

The licensing team have also organised for members of the night time economy to provide drink spikies with every bottled drink, in order to prevent people’s drinks being spiked.

Safer MK’s Acting Head of Community Safety, Colin Wilderspin, said: “We are working in partnership with Thames Valley Police to ensure that our community in Milton Keynes is as safe as it can possibly be. We hope that this campaign will have a strong impact on residents in Milton Keynes.”

Detective Chief Inspector Richard North said: “Rape is one of the most damaging offences that can be committed against an individual, and all reports are treated equally seriously by Thames Valley Police.

“Operation Decide focuses on trying to prevent the crime taking place at all.

”Although colloquially people use the phrases “date rape” or “stranger rape” the legislation does not make any distinction and, whatever the context, the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.

“The poster campaign centres around trying to educate the community that individuals need to make an informed decision before they partake in any sexual activity, and fundamentally ‘drunk does not mean yes’.

”Officers in Milton Keynes continue to treat all reports of rape with the upmost priority and strive to bring as many offenders to justice as possible.”