Police have launched an operation aimed at keeping people safe on Christmas nights out – with officers urging people to “stay with friends or people you know”.
From tonight all the way up to next Friday – known as Mad Friday – police and Aberdeen City Council officers will be visiting pubs and clubs in the city centre to ensure people have fun and keep safe.
They will be ensuring licensees and staff are suitably trained and stick to conditions to promote responsible drinking.
Licensing Sergeant Tricia MacLean said: “On the run up to Christmas, there is always a significant increase in the number of people socialising, particularly for Christmas parties.
“We’ll be working closely with our partners and licensed premises to make sure their establishments continue to provide a safe environment for members of the public to enjoy their nights out.
“It is now a condition of ‘on sales’ premises licences in Aberdeen that they have a policy in place regarding reducing vulnerability through intoxication and duty of care. We will continue to raise awareness of this through our operations.
“However, we all have a role in ensuring nights out are memorable for the right reasons and I would urge people going out over the festive period to be sensible and avoid the risk of becoming vulnerable through intoxication.
“There are a few simple tips which can reduce that risk:
· Charge your phone and tell family or friends of your plans
· Pace yourself, not every drink needs to be alcoholic.
· Know your limits for drinking
· Stay with friends or people you know
· If uncomfortable in someone’s company, inform a staff member, police or other official. Consider using ‘Ask for Angela’ to leave unwanted attention or company
· Arrange a lift home, use public transport or a licensed taxi from an official rank
· Do not drink and drive and be aware of the morning after
She added: “I would also urge people to assist with our efforts to tackle alcohol-fuelled crimes so that your evening does not end in the wrong way.
“Consider the impact and implications of your behaviour on yourself and others.
“Alcohol itself doesn’t make people violent but it does lower inhibitions and increases risk-taking behaviour which can compromise your own and others’ safety.
“Both the public and licensed premises are crucial partners with Police Scotland to help manage and reduce this.
“If you do become aware of any anti-social or criminal behaviour, please report it to police on 101, or 999 in an emergency, so that we can respond and take appropriate action.”
Local Councillor Martin Greig, who will be joining the operation both weekends, said: “The festive season is a great opportunity for fun and socialising.
“We all share the responsibility to make sure that the festivities are enjoyed in a safe and responsible manner, and the licensing system helps and supports this.
“Licensed premises work positively with the police and other authorities to tackle disorder and any criminal activity.
“When socialising in what can often be crowded places, it’s important that groups stick together and look after each other.
“At the end of the night, everyone should be able to get home safely so arranging transport is crucial.
“Individuals who are left on their own can become vulnerable in the city centre, especially when heading home in the early hours.
“A little extra vigilance on behalf of other people will be much appreciated and will help ensure that everyone can have a pleasant time.”