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Look after your mates and party safe

Police are urging people throughout Derbyshire to look after their mates and stay safe this Christmas when partying or on a night out.

The advice comes ahead of one of the busiest weekends of the year, when many people will be going out throughout the county to celebrate Christmas with colleagues, friends and family.

Derbyshire Constabulary say there will be an increased police presence in busy night spot areas during the Christmas period, and officers are working with partnership organisations, and pubs and clubs, to keep people safe by encouraging responsible alcohol sales.

As well as offering advice on how to stay safe on a night out, police are also reminding people about a few initiatives which can help people who are feeling vulnerable.

Ask for Angela

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 taking part in the scheme will display posters sharing the message.

HollieGuard

People can download the free personal safety app, HollieGuard, to their smart phone to help them feel safe in vulnerable situations.

HollieGuard 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.

The annual campaign is part of Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa's continued Safe Night Out strategy to combat alcohol-related harm and crime.

Chief Inspector Glenn Hoggard, Operations Manager for policing on North Division, said: “Christmas is a time of year when many people will be getting together to celebrate Christmas and we want to make sure that people do so safely. We will have officers patrolling our towns and cities to deal with anyone who commits drunk and disorderly, or anti-social behaviour, or other crimes, and to help keep nights out safe and enjoyable for all.”

Police have issued tips for a safe and fun night out, which 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.

Ch Insp Hoggard added: "Please remember 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. Take a little time and care to plan how you’re getting home, to look after your mates and make sure they are safe and well and to help us make sure that no-ones Christmas is spoiled while on a night out celebrating." 

For more information on the HollieGuard app and how to download it, visit www.hollieguard.com.

Police are also reminding people how to report incidents. 

To get help in an emergency, always dial 999. To report an incident that isn’t an emergency situation, you can get in touch with police using one of the following options: 

Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
Twitter – direct message the contact centre on @DerPolContact
Website – complete the online contact form www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
Phone – call the non-emergency number 101. 

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