Police operation to protect women at night in Oxford to be rolled out across the Thames Valley

ITV News Meridian's Penny Silvester joined officers safeguarding the streets of Oxford

A police operation to protect women at night in Oxford is being rolled out across the region.

The city's police use a combination of uniform and plain clothes officers around key places such as taxi ranks, nightclubs, bars and pubs.

While out on patrol, officers are looking out for predatory behaviour in men such as sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, and loitering.

During Project Vigilant, 27 men were stopped for harassment, stalking and unwanted behaviour towards women and 37 men were stopped loitering near to places where officers know that predatory behaviour and sexual offending has occurred. 

Detective Chief Inspector James Senior said: "This is not saying you can't got out and have a good time and it's not saying you can't talk to a woman.

"All we're saying is that interaction needs to be respectful and it can't overstep the mark because if you do, we do have officers who may in uniform or plain clothes and we will deal with it positively."

Watch: Detective Chief Inspector James Senior says it's about showing respect when on a night out

Early figures show that 1 in 5 people that have been stopped are linked to previous offending against women and girls.

This type of policing has caught the attention of British Transport police who are now piloting the methods on the rail network.

Sergeant Charlotte Collins from British Transport Police said: "It's identifying that behaviour early before it's moved on and someone has become a victim of crime.

"Obviously we would prefer we rather prevent a crime happening rather than catch them after its happened."

CCTV has been rolled out across Oxford. Credit: ITV News Meridian

In Oxford the police operation is working in conjunction with the roll-out of new CCTV in the city. It is all designed to identify problems before they escalate.

Detective Chief Inspector James Senior added: "One in five of the people we stop are linked to prior violence against women and girls offending so we're clearly stopping the right people and having a good effect."

Following its success, Operation Vigilant is to be rolled out at more towns and cities across the Thames Valley.