Dr Chris Magill is evaluating the impact of the scheme - called Project Vigilant – which is based on expert insights into ways to cut sexual harassment and assault on women out at night in Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes and Windsor.
Begun in 2019, the scheme uses a combination of uniformed and plain clothed officers to carry out patrols in areas around night clubs and bars, identifying men displaying predatory behaviour and other forms of sexual harassment, including inappropriate touching. Plain clothed officers who identify such behaviour call in dedicated Project Vigilant uniformed officers to stop those identified and take action to discourage their behaviour – including arrest.
Project Vigilant has contributed to a reduction in sexual offences linked to the night-time economy in the four areas involved. Between 23 July and 5 October 2021, compared to the same dates in 2019, there was a 12.5% decrease in sexual violence in night-time economy spots, and a 77% reduction in stranger rapes in these areas. In addition, 99 men were stopped by police, with nine arrests made in relation to predatory behaviour during this period.