Surrey

Surrey Police give Christmas party sex offence warning

People are being urged to step up personal safety during the Christmas and New Year period because of a notable rise in sexual offences at that time of year.

Surrey Police said sexual assaults reported in January had been higher than average for the past three years.

The force unveiled its safety campaign on White Ribbon Day, a campaign to end violence against women.

Police said they needed people to be aware and take safety precautions.

Crime statistics for 2010-11 saw a monthly average of 27.9 reported sexual assaults, with 31 reported in January 2011.

In 2011-12, the monthly average for sexual assaults was 17.2, compared with 33 reported in January 2012.

Figures for reported rapes showed 20 reported in January 2013 compared with a monthly average of 15.4 for the year.

Thirteen rapes were reported in January 2012 and five in January 2011.

Det Ch Insp Adam Colwood said: "The campaign is about giving victims the confidence to report offences in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously and we will do everything possible to investigate.

"Forcing someone to have sex or perform sexual acts is a crime and if you say 'no' it is rape."

Christmas party warning

He said statistics were likely to be higher than reported figures because some victims were still not reporting offences.

He said it was vital victims came forward because the sooner an offence was reported the more likely it was there would be a conviction.

"The majority of sexual offences reported to us are committed by people known to the victims.

"I would like to make it clear that anyone who thinks that social occasions such as Christmas parties provide an excuse for inappropriate sexual advances and behaviour should be aware that this is not acceptable and we will take strong action," he added.

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