Woking residents urged to report any suspicious incidents happening on the Basingstoke Canal towpath
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Officers are urging Woking residents to continue to be vigilant whilst using the Basingstoke Canal towpath, following a number of suspicious incidents and sexual exposure offences over the last 18 months.
The incidents have included victims being flashed or being approached in a suspicious and intimidating manner. However, we do not believe all of these offences are linked as the descriptions of the suspect have varied on a number of occasions.
The most recent incident involved a report of sexual exposure along the towpath around 8pm on Thursday, 17 December. The incident occurred when the victim was crossing the canal bridge on Dockfield Drive when the suspect exposed himself to her. The suspect is described as in his 20s, white, around 6ft tall and was wearing a dark grey hooded top and black sport trousers.
In response to this ongoing issue, the number of uniformed and plain clothes police patrols in the area have increased and officers have provided personal safety advice to schools and community groups.
Officers have also been working closely with Woking Borough Council, Basingstoke Canal Society, Neighbourhood Watch and the local community to set up ‘Canal Watch’ - a community initiative which will involve local volunteers patrolling the towpath and reporting any suspicious behaviour and concerns.
Woking Borough Commander Inspector David Bentley, said:
“We are urging the public to remain vigilant when using the towpath and to report anything suspicious to us straightaway. The quicker you report suspicious behaviour or activity, the quicker we can attend and this increases our chances of successfully locating and catching the offender.
“I would personally like to reassure the public that my team is doing everything they can, including working with our partner agencies, to identify those responsible. If you have any information which could assist us with our investigations, we would like to hear from you.”
If you find yourself in a similar situation:
- trust your instincts and if you think a situation is getting worse, try not to get involved;
- look for a way to escape;
- put distance between yourself and the other person if you are able to;
- call 999 if you can;
- if you’re unable to, then call police as soon as you can.
Anyone with any information which could help with our investigation is asked to contact us via
- Webchat on our website surrey.police.uk
- Online https://www.surrey.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/
- Calling us on 101
If you do not wish to leave your name, please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.