Nottinghamshire Police have apologised for a Facebook post advising women not to walk alone at night after they were accused of “blaming” victims.
The post, which the force has now deleted, said: "Taking a risk when it comes to walking alone at night is not one of those things we should be doing.
"Women who walk alone especially at night are at risk of harassment, or even physical assault.
"It is always best to walk with someone, or in an area where there are other people.
"But even with the best planning there will likely come a time you will need to walk somewhere alone at night.
"Whether it's to your car after a late night at the office, heading to your car after a late-night store run, or walking home from the public bus station, you may find yourself out at night alone.”
Following a fierce backlash in the comments underneath the post, it was swiftly taken down but Helen Voce, chief executive of Nottingham Women's Centre, told the BBC she was astonished by its content.
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She said: "It felt like a 1980s thing; it is so condescending, blaming women for going out and it's so sexist about us coming back from the shops.
"I think it makes women feel like it's their fault and that's ridiculous.”
Ms Voce said police should be giving men advice on how to make women feel safer at night.
"It's men that need to change their behaviour.”
A police spokesman said: "We recognise this was a clumsy attempt to communicate an incident with the underlying intention of keeping people safe.
"The post was swiftly deleted as soon as it was brought to our attention.
"Feedback has been provided and we would apologise unreservedly for any offence caused."