Residents in Suffolk are being urged to think of vulnerable people this Christmas and help give the ‘gift of safety’ to their friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.
Over the weeks leading up to Christmas, police are asking people to work with them to help keep our communities safe, by considering the welfare of anyone who may be in harm’s way and those that they know that may be alone or suffering at this time of year.
The campaign is launching as the festive season gets into full swing and town centres across the county become busy with revellers and Christmas parties.
This weekend is expected to be particularly busy for pubs, bars and clubs across Suffolk and police are asking those out celebrating to take care of themselves and one another.
Extra officers will be on duty to cope with the additional demand and they will be there to help anyone in distress as always, but police are asking that people avoid placing an additional strain on resources and help keep each other safe.
People that drink too much alcohol can leave themselves vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime and as such are being urged not to put themselves at risk unnecessarily.
Friends and colleagues are asked to take care of people that either become too drunk or get separated from the group and ensure that they are not left alone and get home safely.
The Suffolk Police Proactive Licensing Team (PLT) will be holding vulnerability impact nights this weekend, taking place in Ipswich on Friday and Bury St Edmunds on Saturday.
The team will be working alongside the British Red Cross and will patrol the town centres on the look-out for people who are potentially vulnerable. Anyone found to be in need of help will be looked after for the rest of the evening, whether they require medical treatment, sobering-up, or getting home safely.
Officers on patrol will be wearing body-cams whilst dealing with individuals they deem vulnerable. The footage will then be shown back to the person concerned at a later date to highlight how their behaviour could have put their own safety at risk.
The PLT will also continue their ongoing dialogue with licensees, working to ensure that premises are run responsibly, that alcohol isn’t served to those who are either underage or deemed to have drunk too much, thereby creating safe environments for all to enjoy their night out.
County Policing Commander, Chief Superintendent David Skevington, said: “The message from police is simple – have fun and enjoy yourselves, but take care of one another. Looking out for the safety of a friend or relative is a duty we all share this Christmas.
“I urge people to drink responsibly and not overdo it, but if you recognise that someone has had too much alcohol and is making themselves vulnerable, then don’t let them go off alone. Sober them up if you can and help arrange for them to get home safely.
“At this time of year we anticipate receiving a higher number of calls into our control room, especially on the weekend evenings leading up to Christmas and on New Year’s Eve, and will have extra officers on duty in anticipation of this. By working together we can aim to give everyone the gift of safety this Christmas.”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “I really enjoy Christmas and for most of us it is a time of great fun but for others it can be far from merry.
“As the festive season builds up, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect and suggest that we all make a bit more effort to take extra care of those close to us. Whether it’s by looking after each other on a night out or keeping an eye on an elderly neighbour, let’s all try to keep each other safe by spreading a little Christmas cheer.
“My message is two-fold, have fun but keep safe.”