The Christmas party season is approaching, with revellers raising a festive toast at the county’s bars, clubs and restaurants.
But Suffolk Police are urging people to stay safe this Christmas – and have issued 12 tips to help avoid potential dangers while still having a great time.
The warning is part of the constabulary’s #SaferChristmas campaign, aimed at reminding people to be aware of the risks when it comes to consuming alcohol.
Police say that excessive drinking can make people more susceptible to get into arguments, which leads to fights or make poor decisions, which leave them vulnerable to becoming victims of crime.
Reckless drinking or drug-taking can impair a person’s judgement and lead to devastating consequences, increasing the risk of sexual assault.
12 top tips for a safe night out
• Don’t be tempted to drink too much before the night begins. People who preload are more likely to become involved in violent crime or injure themselves.
• Make sure you have something to eat before a night out and drink water regularly.
• Don’t make yourself vulnerable by getting too drunk – know your limits.
• Stay with friends, look out for one another and make sure you all get home safely.
• Arrange a meeting point and rendezvous times in case you get separated from friends.
• Pre-book safe transport home and do not accept lifts from strangers.
• Save the number of a licensed taxi firm in your mobile phone. Always check the driver’s identification and never get into an unlicensed taxi.
• Avoid walking alone and never take shortcuts through dark alleys or large open spaces.
• Stash some cash in case you lose your purse or wallet.
• Store an ICE (in case of emergency) number on your phone.
• Keep an eye on your drinks and never leave them unattended. Even soft drinks could get spiked.
• Getting behind the wheel after drinking can have tragic consequences, the advice is simple, don’t drink and drive.
Chief inspector Stuart Grimsey said: “The Christmas season for many is about celebration and enjoying the festivities with friends and family, which will often include consuming a few more drinks than you normally would.
“At the same time, however, we want to ensure everyone stays safe especially when they are out visiting busy pubs and clubs. Sadly we see far too many people who drink so much they can’t get themselves home, which can leave them vulnerable to crime.
“So our message is to enjoy the season, but don’t let over indulgence spoil the festive fun.”
Suffolk Constabulary is also supporting the innovative ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign which helps enable those who feel vulnerable on a night out to discreetly ask pub and club staff for help.
The initiative aims to reduce sexual violence and vulnerability by providing revellers with a discreet phrase they can use to gain assistance from staff should they find themselves in a worrying or intimidating situation.