Heading to a Festival this Summer?

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With lockdown restrictions being lifted, many people will be taking the opportunity to enjoy a festival, major event or just a big night out this summer.

Hertfordshire Constabulary wants everyone to make sure it’s an experience to remember for all the right reasons.

With many events now confirmed to be going ahead across the country, police are issuing tips and advice to help people ensure their experience is a positive one.

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 but we would always encourage people to remain vigilant. Please take simple steps to help keep yourself and your belongings safe. This advice also applies to anyone heading to other major events across the country.

‘One of the steps you might want to consider is to install a personal safety app, such as Hollie Guard, on your mobile phone. These apps can help empower men and women around their own safety, and can notify chosen contacts when you may be in danger, pinpointing your location and also sending audio and video footage.’

The constabulary is also reminding people that the lifting of restrictions is not an opportunity to take advantage of people sexually.

Detective Chief Inspector Anna Wright, from the Constabulary’s Safeguarding Command, said: ‘Unfortunately, some people may think the lifting of restrictions is an opportunity to forget their normal standards of behaviour. Our message to these people is simple – sex without consent is rape.

‘No matter what the prior conversations have been, anyone, male or female, has the right to say no to sexual activity at any time and this should be fully respected.

‘It is also important to remember that sex with someone who is incapacitated as a result of drink or drugs is rape.

‘Offenders could find themselves facing a prison sentence and being placed on the sex offenders’ register. So please, stop and think. Is it really worth the consequences?’

If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, please don’t hesitate to report it. The constabulary has specialist officers on hand who take these matters extremely seriously and can provide support and advice.

Additionally, Herts SARC 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 information and advice is available at www.herts.police.uk/A-Z/Festival-advice.