With the summer festival season now under way, Hertfordshire Constabulary is urging people to ensure it is one to remember for all the right reasons.
If you’re heading to a musical festival, a major event or just planning a big night out, it’s important to consider the consequences that your actions might have.
Inspector Nicki Dean, from the Constabulary’s Crime Reduction and Community Safety Unit said: “In Hertfordshire, we work closely with organisers to ensure that festivals and other events run smoothly and that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. Festivals in the county are generally very safe places with low levels of crime.
“However, sadly, we know there’s a minority of people out there who may see the festival season as an excuse to forget normal standards of behaviour and this is simply not acceptable. Our message to everyone is to really think hard about their actions towards others and the impact they may have.
“What you may perceive to be harmless fun could actually cause a great deal of distress and you may even find yourself guilty of a criminal offence.
“It is particularly important to remember that sex without consent is rape; this includes sex with anyone, male or female, who is incapacitated as a result of alcohol or drugs.
“Offenders could find themselves facing a prison sentence and being placed on the sex offenders’ register, affecting their career prospects, travel plans and future relationships. So please, stop and think. Is it really worth the consequences?”
This year, more than 100 festivals across the UK have signed up to the Association of Independent Festivals' (AIF) Safer Spaces At Festivals campaign (opens in a new window), pledging that that all allegations of sexual assault, violence and harassment will be taken seriously, acted on promptly and investigated.
If you feel uncomfortable, or have concerns about someone’s behaviour, please do not hesitate to report it to festival staff, security or to the police.
Detective Chief Inspector John Harlock, from the Constabulary’s Safeguarding Command, said: “Becoming a victim of a sexual assault is never your fault. If you have been a victim, please don’t hesitate to report it.
“The constabulary has specialist officers on hand to provide advice and support throughout an investigation. It also has a number of officers who are specially trained to provide support to members of the LGBT+ community.”
Additionally, Herts SARC (opens in a new window) offers practical and emotional support to anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault. Their services are free and independent, meaning you do not have to have contacted police in order to access them.
Further advice and information is available on our website.