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VIDEO: Police send out Christmas safety message

VIDEO: Police send out Christmas safety message

Published at 11:36am 2nd December 2015. (Updated at 11:58am 2nd December 2015)

Police in Harrogate and Craven are encouraging everyone to take care of themselves whilst celebrating during the festive season.

It follows a history of increased demand over the Christmas and New Year period.

Experienced detectives will use their skills to intervene in situations, ask relevant questions and offer advice to people on nights out.

The officers will be patrolling areas around popular hotspots for night-time drinking, including hotels and taxi ranks.

Police are joining forces with local licensing and door staff, street marshals and street pastors to ensure that people have a good and safe night.

Detective Inspector Phil Coward, of the Harrogate Serious Crime Team, said: "We want to make sure that while people are out enjoying themselves they also keep themselves and each other safe from harm.

"It is a disturbing fact that reports of sexual assault do occur this time of year, and we know that alcohol is a contributing factor in a number of those incidents. We are not saying don't go out and drink alcohol. Nor are we wanting to raise fear of this type of crime.

"Our message is simple - saying 'yes' to a drink doesn't mean saying 'yes' to sex. No matter how much fun you are having with others and no matter how much you have had to drink, consent to any type of sexual activity should never ever be assumed.

"If consent has not clearly been given, then there is a risk of an individual becoming a victim of sexual crime and someone finding themselves spending time in a police cell having been arrested for sexual assault or rape. The suspected offender will then also be subjected to a lengthy, intrusive and personal police investigation.

"Sexual assault and rape shatter lives and it's the most distressing and despicable type of crime.

"We want to encourage everyone to be mindful of the potential serious consequences when under the influence of alcohol and prevent lives being ruined - we have seen it happen all too easily. Have fun, but please look after yourselves and each other."

Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault is being urged to call North Yorkshire Police on 101.

Alternatively, support and advice is available from Bridge House, North Yorkshire's Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

It can be contacted on 01904 669339 or by sending an e-mail to sarc@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Information and advice is also available at www.turntobridgehouse.org