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A reminder about consent during Freshers' Week


Safety and security may not be the first things to think about during freshers’ week, but officers and staff from Bedfordshire Police will be meeting new and returning students this week to ensure a safe and happy time while they study in the county’s university and colleges.

There will be a police stand at many of the county’s freshers’ fairs throughout this week to offer advice and tips on how to deter burglars at their student accommodation, and how to mark and keep personal belongings safe.  There will also be information and advice about drugs and alcohol, and students will be able to ask questions, and find out how to get in touch, should they need police assistance or support.

Also available will be information and advice on more personal subjects, like sexual assault and abuse within relationships.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Dadd, head of the force’s Emerald team, which investigates rape and sexual offences, said: “It’s freshers’ week; a time for fun and making new friends, and we want every student to have a memorable time for all the right reasons, but if they do need us, we are available and can help.

“For many, this will be their first time away from home and they may never have had to consider things like home or personal security, and we are taking this opportunity to speak to students about those things, but also about healthy relationships, including sex and consent.

“A person must have the freedom and capacity to consent to any sexual activity. If you are incapacitated through the use of alcohol or drugs, you may not be capable of consenting to sex, and anyone who pursues it is committing a crime. Sex without consent is rape.

“Please know, that if you come forward, you will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and respect.”

To better understand consent, Thames Valley Police produced a short film, which explains the issue in the context of having a cup of tea.

If you do become the victim of a crime, please report it by calling 101, or our online reporting centre. Remember, dial 999 in an emergency, or if there is a crime in progress.

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