Police Scotland and partners in Aberdeenshire launched the highly successful ‘Safer Streets’ festive policing campaign yesterday.
The operation which also runs through the summer months at games and shows across the region has helped cut incidents of violence, with serious assaults in particular down over 21% in Aberdeenshire so far this year.
The operation will see additional high-visibility patrols across Aberdeenshire and officers will be targeting anti-social behaviour, theft and violence.
Local Area Commander Chief Inspector Murray Main said
The North East of Scotland is a great place to live, work and visit. Across Aberdeenshire our many towns and villages will be lively during the day and at night while people prepare for and enjoy the festive period.
We are encouraging people to go out and enjoy themselves but to do so in a responsible manner.
We will be working closely with partner agencies including Aberdeenshire Council, the other emergency services, those within the third sector along with the licensed trade, business communities and those who help convey people safely to and from home to ensure those who need help are supported.
There will be an increase in joint high-visibility police and Criminal Justice Social Work patrols and additional visits to licensed premises will take place throughout the lead up to the Christmas and New Year period to ensure that people have a safe and enjoyable time within our towns and villages.
Mike Ogg, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership Manager, said
Working alongside our partners from Police Scotland, the licensed trade, Aberdeenshire Council’s Criminal Justice Social Work and Community Substance Misuse Service can help to ensure that people enjoy the atmosphere at venues and in town centres across Aberdeenshire during the festive period, without worrying about their safety. We will be delighted if we can continue to give them this peace of mind once again this Christmas, and ultimately help to prevent people from becoming unnecessarily involved in the criminal justice system.
Kat Gordon, Chair of the Garioch Pub Watch Scheme, said
There are a good number of well organised Pub Watch Schemes right across Aberdeenshire which are supported by both the Local Authority and Police Scotland.
Working together with the vast majority of licensed premises in the area, the Pub Watch Scheme helps licensees’ and staff maintain standards and deal with the relatively small but often persistent number of individuals who cause issues in, at or near licensed premises. The scheme helps to create a secure night time economy for people to work and enjoy and the Festive Safer Streets initiative is another important opportunity to further reduce crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour across the area.
David McGown, Assistant Chief Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said
The use of alcohol continues to play a major part in contributing to fire deaths in the home. The Fire Service urges people to avoid cooking at all when under the influence of alcohol.
Officers answering 999 calls from intoxicated people often struggle to get details of where the incident is and what is involved, which makes it much harder for them to know what resources to send.
Being unable to get reliable, accurate information also means that firefighters can be sent to incidents without vital information regarding people involved and the risks they may face.
When someone is trapped in a fire this could mean our teams may not know where to focus their search, which therefore exposes them to dangerous environments for longer as they attempt to locate the person.
It is vital that your home has working smoke alarms, enough so that everyone in your home will be alerted in the event of fire. You should also consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen.
Chief Inspector Main added
We want to ensure the minority do not get the opportunity to ruin it for those who are looking to go out and enjoy themselves over the festive period.
A small number of people will look to take advantage of the situation to cause issues or commit retail crimes, including shoplifting or other thefts such as stealing handbags, purses or wallets.
The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for police and our partners. It’s a great time for people to catch up with friends and family but don’t leave yourself vulnerable. Getting involved in violence or anti-social behaviour can have a lasting impact not just on a victim, but on you and your family so don’t risk it. Remember, your actions are your responsibility.
Officers across Scotland will also be concentrating their efforts on preventing and detecting drink and drug-driving in support of the annual festive drink/drug drive campaign.
The campaign will see extra visibility and activity throughout the country, including across the North East, to tackle the small minority of reckless road users who continue to break the law. Drink or drug driving is never worth the risk.
Top tips for a safe festive night out include
- If you’re going into the towns for parties or to meet friends for drinks, stay with people you know and look after each other.
- Charge your phone and make sure you know how you are getting home; plan ahead.
- Book your taxi in advance or get a friend to pick you up. Don’t leave with someone you’ve just met and don’t really know.
- If you’re drinking, know your limits and consider alternating alcoholic and soft drinks.
If you or someone you know is vulnerable or may be at risk from fire please get in touch with the SFRS and arrange a FREE home fire safety visit with local firefighters by calling 0800 0731 999 or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk.
A wide range of tips on how to keep yourself and your home safe from fire are available on the SFRS website: www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter