In recent weeks The Parish Council have received a number of questions from residents about the incidents on Hesworth Common and the police have provided the following answers.
Update on the the current investigation
The Police have received information from members of public who are assisting them with their investigations, which are ongoing. Unfortunately, this is all the Police can say at the moment to avoid complicating or compromising the investigation.
HOW TO REPORT ANY SUSPIOUS BEHAVIOUR
People should report ANY suspicious behaviour to the Police,
- call 999 as any offence is happening or
- Call 101 in the immediate aftermath or
- on line if it is later or the suspect has left.
EVERYONE should remain vigilant. At this time there have been no other reports than that of an exposure.
Why has it taken so long for any substantial information to be shared with the local Community about a suspect
Without specific, credible lines of enquiry (such as photos or an identification) it is very difficult for the Police to progress any investigation. That is why the Police stress the importance of reporting any incident at the time. The Police cannot share much/any information regarding ongoing cases, as this could compromise any case in court should it get there.
Are there certain times of day the incidents take place?
No specific time aside from daylight hours
Where do the incidents take place on Hesworth Common?
The majority of reports indicate the area to the West of the car park in the woods.
Advice on how to react to any suspicious activity?
The overriding advice is always maintain personal safety. Get yourself clear and safe. The Police would not recommend any confrontation as one can never know how an offender would react.
Would the police recommend carrying an alarm or coloured spray?
An alarm is an option, but as above, The Police would advise against any kind of confrontational action. Using a coloured spray is a difficult one, as possession implies the intent to use it and anyone who did use it would be liable for their action if it led to an assault. If one has it ready to use and they do so on an innocent party out of panic etc. they could be liable to arrest themselves. Again the advice would be to get oneself safe and call Police.
If one sees something suspicious, should they walk through the car park and photograph number plates, as they might help the police with info?
This would be a definite no, as it risks infringing on the privacy or other walkers, who are there innocently and could cause further confrontation. However, if an offender were seen to get in a car, noting the number plate would be helpful.
It appears the incidents are happening to only women. what advice should we give to teenagers boys if they are walking or biking on Hesworth Common?
From the descriptions given, it does not appear that younger teenagers using the woods would be seen as a risk, They should be respectful and polite and if confronted, the same advice applies, get to safety and call Police.