Express & Star

Woman was 'kidnapped' on night out in Wolverhampton city centre

A woman was kidnapped from Wolverhampton city centre, police have revealed as they pledged to patrol the streets at night to help vulnerable people feel safe.

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Women have said they feel vulnerable out in Wolverhampton at night

The terrifying attack happened in Queen Square at around 2.30am on July 24.

Officers said a man had grabbed hold of a woman and was walking through the square, pretending they were a couple.

The woman then made a hand gesture to the members of the Safe Haven team, who are set up in the square to offer support on a night out, and the man was apprehended nearby.

A 43-year-old man from Wolverhampton was charged with kidnap.

Police have pledged to work hard to make people feel safer in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder

Uniformed West Midlands Police officers were patrolling the city centre on Saturday night to watch out for any offenders and help women – and other vulnerable people – feel safer.

It comes after the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, who was sentenced to serve his entire life in jail last month.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Bell, who was out in the city on Saturday, said she wanted to reassure women that the police are there to help and can still be trusted.

She said: "We know there's under-reporting of sexual offences and other offences and we want people to tell us where they don't feel safe so then we can know where to patrol more.

"We don't want to stop anyone enjoying themselves and we certainly don't want to be blaming men and saying that all men are offenders.

Assistant chief constable Claire Bell and Sgt Adam Bell out in Wolverhampton

"But whether you're male or female we want people to be planning their night and knowing who they're meeting and know how they're getting home and looking after each other; however that shouldn't put the burden on females to not be sexually assaulted.

"If someone is sexually assaulted there's only one person to blame for that and that's the person who sexually assaulted them.

"Women are saying to us, we shouldn't have to change our behaviours to stop men offending so we are looking at that more now; focusing on the offenders. When previously we had spent a lot of time telling people how to keep themselves safe."

The Express & Star went out with West Midlands Police to talk to party-goers on a busy Saturday night in Wolverhampton.

All of the women we spoke to that evening said they would never walk through the city alone in the dark.

"No, I'd never walk through the city alone," said 18-year-old Courtney Jeavons on a night out in Wolverhampton.

"Definitely not. That's why we're always in a big group with the lads. Us girls will never go out on our own."

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