Derbyshire police are encouranging residents to stay safe this Christmas when partying or on a night out.
The advice comes as the festive party season gets underway, and the county's towns and the city get busier with people celebrating Christmas with colleagues, friends and family.
There will be an increased police presence in Derbyshire during the Christmas period, and officers have been working with partnership organisations, pubs and clubs to keep people safe by encouraging responsible alcohol sales.
Pubwatch venues across the county are taking part in the Ask for Angela initiative, to encourage anyone feeling unsafe or uncomfortable on a night out to approach bar staff for help.
The campaign allows anyone to go to the bar and simply ask to speak to ‘Angela’ to show they are in an uncomfortable situation or need help. Staff will then call a taxi or discreetly offer help and venues partaking in the scheme will display posters sharing the message.
Officers are also encouraging people across Derbyshire to download the free personal safety app, HollieGuard, to their smart phones to help them feel safe in vulnerable situations.
The HollieGuard app can track a person’s location, and if they feel unsafe they can shake their phone to warn their contacts that they might be in danger. It will then record both audio and visual footage of what is happening, and if the phone is shaken again, a flashing light and high pitched alarm will sound.
These initiatives are part of Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa's Safe Night Out strategy combating alcohol-related harm and crime.
Chief Inspector Glenn Hoggard, Operations Manager for policing on North Division, said: “Work parties, festive drinks and family celebrations are all part of the Christmas fun and Derbyshire has some great places to enjoy a night out.
“Please remember though, that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can change your normal behaviour. It could make you more aggressive or likely to commit a crime, or make you less aware of what is going on around you and make you more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime.”
Derbyshire police tips for a safe and fun night out are:
* Plan how you are getting home in advance. Leave the car at home, or agree a designated driver. If you use a taxi, make sure it’s licenced. Never travel with anyone you think has consumed alcohol or may be under the influence of drugs.
* Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be home.
* Don’t be tempted to pre-load too much. You might save money but it could lead you getting drunk quicker than you would expect.
* Have a big meal before you start drinking to allow the alcohol to be absorbed more slowly.
* Space alcoholic drinks out with soft drinks or water.
* Don’t feel pressured to keep up with friends. Know your own limits and stick to them.
* Keep your bags and phone close to you when in restaurants and pubs.
* If someone is being aggressive or threatening towards you, walk away and report it.
* If you begin to feel unwell or drunk after fewer drinks than normal, ask a trusted friend for help, or let the management at the pub or premises know.
Chief Inspector Hoggard added: “Everyone wants to have a good time and we certainly don’t want to put a stop to that. What we do want to do is to make sure that people stay safe.
“You can help us by drinking responsibly, planning how to get home safely, staying with or watching out for friends and walking away from any from any trouble should it arise.”