Wi-fi advice to those in bars

16 December 2011

Wi-fi advice wording

With the festive period fast approaching and alcohol becoming a regular feature for many, the Met's Sapphire Command is utilising wi-fi technology to issue advice to those out in bars and clubs.

In the first campaign of its kind by the MPS, the technology is being used to deliver rape prevention and personal safety messages to those out enjoying the lead-up to Christmas.

As well as targeting potential perpetrators with the message that having sex with someone who does not have the ability to consent is tantamount to rape; police are also reminding people of the need to drink responsibly, as increased levels of alcohol can impair judgement and make individuals more vulnerable to crime.

The activity is taking place in the vicinity of popular venues within the boroughs of Westminster, Camden, Southwark and Lambeth including Ministry of Sound, Proud Galleries, The Trocedero Centre and Infernos nightclub.

The wi-fi technology is advertised via posters in the area requesting that mobile phone users switch on their wi-fi capability. Alerts are then sent to phones asking the user to download a police message.

This is the first occasion within the MPS whereby this type of technology has been utilised as a tool to issue crime prevention advice. The targeted activity is being carried out purposely in the run up to Christmas, when there tends to be an increase in the night time economy as people celebrate the festive period.

Detective Superintendant Jason Ashwood of Sapphire said: "This concerted prevention drive is about sending a message to perpetrators of rape that sex with someone who is unable to consent is rape. If a person is unconscious or their judgement is impaired by alcohol they are legally unable to consent.

"Men and women should never feel that they cannot enjoy themselves on a night out; however we would always advise people to take care of themselves and their friends and ensure they are comfortable with their surroundings and situation. Have fun, but be responsible and stay safe. It is an unfortunate fact of life that there are individuals out there who will try and take advantage of people when their inhibitions are lowered.

"This is about us trying to prevent offences from happening in the first place. I do however want to make something very clear: the only person ever responsible for a rape is the perpetrator."

In addition to the wi-fi activity, Safer Neighbourhoods Teams, PCSOs and Safer Transport officers will be in the vicinity of the selected venues handing out leaflets re-iterating the wi-fi messages; as well as talking to members of the public about the purpose of the activity and providing general advice around staying safe.

Det Supt Ashwood added: "If you believe you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault, but are not able to recall the exact details I would urge you to report the incident to Sapphire or The Havens so that we can do our best to help you. Specially trained officers and medical staff are on-hand to listen to your experience and provide all the possible assistance to support. Don't suffer in silence. Report the offence."