Bedfordshire Police is reminding returning holidaymakers that crime does not respect international borders, and that offences which take place abroad should still be reported to police.
The message – while applicable to all crimes – comes especially from the force’s rape investigation team, who want to urge young tourists heading home from breaks in party destinations over the summer that serious sexual offences should not go unreported.
Scores of young people may now be back after their getaways to sunnier climes over the holiday break or to celebrate exam results.
But holiday hotspots which often hit the headlines can be damaging to public understanding of rape and sexual assault, argues Detective Inspector Jenni McIntyre-Smith.
Det Insp McIntyre-Smith, who heads up the Rape Investigation Unit, said: “The often heady combinations of sun, sea and alcohol can sometimes fuel rowdy behaviour in nightclub strips, and what should be classified as a serious offence can worryingly be seen as the norm.
“In Bedfordshire we are committed to dispelling misconceptions about what constitutes legal consent, and we will thoroughly investigate all reports of rape and sexual assault made to us.
“However, it seems that when people go on holiday to so-called party destinations, the boundaries can become blurred and people – of any age or gender – could feel pressured into behaving in a way in which they aren’t comfortable.
“If you have been raped or sexually assaulted it is vital you report this to the authorities wherever you are staying, and when you come home we still want to hear from you to provide help and support.”
Those who have been victims of rape or sexual assault while abroad or in other parts of the country are being urged to report their attacks once they come home, as their crimes will still be investigated.
Victims of rape and sexual assault will be given care, support and guidance from the Bedfordshire force and partner agencies, while officers will liaise with the relevant force under which the crime took place to bring offenders to justice.
The force is also reminding people that there is no excuse for sexual abuse, and if someone is incapacitated due to drink or drugs, they are not capable of consenting to sexual activity. If you pursue it, you are committing a crime.
To report a crime, call Bedfordshire Police on 101, text 07786 200 011, or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.