Northamptonshire will see an increased policing presence this coming weekend as people celebrate the festive season.
A significant amount of police force resources is committed every weekend to dealing with the consequences of irresponsible drinking; resources which could otherwise be employed dealing with other crime.
At Christmas this dramatically increases as forces cope with the increased numbers of people out celebrating the festive season. A sample of 10 police forces nationally showed an average of 69 per cent more police officers on duty on the weekend before Christmas than usual.
Northamptonshire Police say they will be doubling their resources on the town centre patrols on Friday and Saturday night.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee said: “The vast majority of people want to have an enjoy evening out in the run up to Christmas, however there are those who drink to such an extent that they put themselves in danger of becoming a victim, or offender, of crime.”
Inspector Elliot Foskett recalled a recent incident in Northampton’s busy town centre on a Saturday night, saying: “A young girl was ejected from a club at 1am accompanied by a man. She was so drunk she could hardly walk. Myself and another officer went to see if she was ok.
“She could barely talk and incoherently mumbled her name. The man she was with explained that her name was Sally and said that he was her boyfriend. I asked him where she lived and he said that she lived in the university halls of residence and he would be getting a taxi to take her home straight away.
“We tried to speak to her again and after calling her Sally several times, she looked up and said ‘My name is Amanda*. We looked around to find the man had gone.
*not actual name
“After she had sobered up sufficiently to tell us where she lived, we took her home to an estate nearby where she lived with her mother.
“Officers from a proactive violence reduction team went to visit her the next day. She couldn’t remember the incident and had been out that night with two friends and had no idea who the man was.”
Chief Constable Adrian Lee said: “Cases like this show us why police are out on the streets this Christmas: not to spoil people’s fun but to keep people safe and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour from occurring as well as responding when they do. Luckily this girl was spotted by police officers who intervened and ensured she got home safely but potentially the situation could have ended very differently.
“Forces are planning to do all we can to protect you from crime and disorder this Christmas; but we also need you to take responsibility for your own safety and not drink to a level where you become vulnerable. Think ahead and make plans to ensure that you have an enjoyable night.”
Tips for staying safe:
If you are out with friends then stay together.
If drinking, know your limits - too much alcohol can leave you vulnerable.
If using public transport to get home, wait in a well-lit place or with people you know.
Pre-book your taxi – do not get into one that you do not believe is licensed – remember only black cabs can be flagged down. Private hire vehicles need to be booked.