Personal safety

Stay safe when out

All of us are responsible for how we behave and what we do when we're in public places.

The advice below can help you stay safe when out, and reduce the chance of a crime being committed against you.

Safety in numbers

If you're out with others, try to stay together.

By staying close to people you trust and know well, you reduce the risk of being targeted by anyone who might take advantage of you.

Safety when travelling

When travelling at night, book a taxi or get a lift with someone you trust.

If someone in the street offers you a lift and they're not a licensed Hackney Carriage, you should ignore them. This is classed as touting and is illegal.

Hackney Carriages:

  • display a 'Taxi' sign on the roof
  • don't have to be booked in advance
  • can be waved down on the street or park on a taxi rank

A Private Hire Vehicle is a different type of taxi that can only be hired by making a booking through a licensed Private Hire Operator. You can search our licensing records to check whether a vehicle, driver, or operator is licensed.

It's always best to travel in the rear of a taxi, not next to the driver.

When waiting for a bus, stand in a well-lit place near other people. It’s best to sit on the lower deck of the bus as you'll be closer to the exit and within sight of the driver if there's a problem.

When travelling by train, try to avoid carriages that are empty or contain only one person. You can report non-emergency crimes directly and quietly to British Transport Police by text or phone. You can also download the Railway Guardian app to report crime to British Transport Police and get information on what to do if you see sexual harassment on trains or at stations.

British Transport Police

: 0800 40 50 40

Text on 61016.

Be aware of what's around you

Any type of drink, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, can be 'spiked' with a substance. This may be done to make a person more vulnerable to theft or sexual assault, or for other motives.

If your drink is spiked, it's not possible to know what the effects will be, but they are likely to be more serious if you're drinking alcohol or have taken other drugs.

Keep a close eye on your drinks and never leave them unattended at any time.

Stay in well-lit areas

If walking home after a night out, always:

  • stay in well-lit areas where there are plenty of people
  • plan a route home
  • stick to places you know

Crime is less likely to be committed where there is good lighting, CCTV and people around to see what is happening.

If you feel unsafe in a public space in Essex, you can share this information anonymously at Essex Police: StreetSafe.

You can get more advice on staying safe when out from Essex Police or Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

If you have information about a crime but want to stay anonymous, you can phone Crimestoppers or fill in their online form.

Crimestoppers – 100% anonymous. Always.

: 0800 555 111