Police will be doubling the number of officers on duty as "large numbers of revellers" get ready to hit Northamptonshire's nightspots next week.
Club owners in admit they "can't wait" to open their doors again for the first time in 17 months when Covid restrictions are lifted on Freedom Day, scrapping requirements to main social distancing in pubs and on dancefloors.
Superintendent Adam Ward, who leads on night-time economy policing for the Force, said: “Monday (July 19) marks a milestone that many people have been waiting a long time for.
"We’ve been working hard with partners to make sure the full reopening of the night-time economy goes well.
“We’ll have increased resources out in town centres to help keep everyone safe, and our officers will be taking a firm but fair approach to any potential trouble-makers.
“Whether you’re looking forward to your first ever night out, or are excited to be resuming socialising like this, please remember to behave, be respectful of others and know your limits so a good time doesn’t turn into a bad time for you.”
Police will pair officers up with ambulance paramedics to provide a joint resource to help people in the county’s main town centres.
Supt Ward added: “With big nights out having been off the cards for so long, remember your tolerance has probably fallen.
"So our advice is to take it steady, stick with your friends and have a plan for getting yourself safely home.”
Northamptonshire Police has joined public health chiefs in encouraging people to use lateral flow testing twice a week — especially as socialising increases — to identify cases of Covid-19 among those with no symptoms, allowing those affected to follow the relevant self-isolation rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Their tips for enjoying a safe night out include:
■ Plan how you’re going to get home and arrange a lift or book a taxi in your name
■ Make sure your phone is fully charged before you go out
■ Stick with your friends and choose a meeting point where you’ll wait for each other if you get separated
■ If talking to a stranger, stay in a public place. If you feel uncomfortable, leave and go somewhere others will see you
■ Be aware of what you are drinking – if someone offers to buy you a drink, go with them to the bar and watch the drink being poured, and keep an eye on your drink at all times
■ Always keep the number of a reliable taxi firm with you. Avoid minicabs or private-hire cars that tout for business and are unlicensed
■ When the taxi arrives, check it’s the one you booked. If in doubt, don’t get in
■ Never accept a lift from a stranger
■ If you need help on a night out, or are worried about someone else, report concerns to venue staff, police or street pastors. In an emergency, always call 999
Find more advice at northants.police.uk/nightsafe