Local officers in Chorleywood and Rickmansworth have stepped up patrols in response to reports of a man acting suspiciously in the area.
In the past week, two reports have come to light where schoolchildren have been followed by a man driving a white van.
The first incident happened in Quickley Lane, Chorleywood, just after 8am on October 7 when a small white van parked nearby.
A man got out of the van and began to walk behind a girl, 10, who started to run. The man then ran back to his vehicle and drove away.
The man was described as around 40 years of age, Asian/oriental in appearance and approximately 5ft 8in in height.
He was wearing a white shirt, baggy navy trousers and black trainers.
The second happened on the afternoon of October 8 in The Drive, Rickmansworth.
In both incidents, the man did not attempt to speak to or touch the children, who told their parents and staff at their schools what had happened before reporting the incidents to police.
A Hertfordshire Police spokesperson said: “We fully understand this news will cause concern within the community and in response, we are increasing our high-visibility patrols in the area particularly around school drop-off and pick-up times.
“We are carrying out a number of enquiries and are speaking to the children involved in both incidents in order to establish the exact circumstances and the man/men’s intentions.
“We are currently investigating whether both incidents are linked.
“The children did exactly the right thing by telling an adult they trust, who then in turn informed us.
“We encourage parents and carers to speak to their children about personal safety and have a discussion about what to do if they believe they are being followed:
- If you feel you are in danger, always dial 999 and tell the operator your location as well as much information about what has happened as possible – including a description of the person.
- If you feel you are being followed, try to make your way to a busy area or go into a shop or café to ask for help.
- Where possible, try and walk to and from school with friends.
- Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and your friends/family know which route you are taking to and from school.
“If you witness any suspicious activity in the area, please contact police straight away.”
If someone is in danger, always dial 999. You can also report information online, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat or call the non-emergency number 101, quoting ISR 486 of 7 October (for Chorleywood incident only).
Alternatively, you can stay 100 per cent anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form.