This week, police and partners in Aberdeenshire are rolling out their highly successful ‘Safer Streets’ festive policing initiative in Aberdeenshire.
The operation will see additional high-visibility patrols across Aberdeenshire and officers will be targeting anti-social behaviour, theft and violence.
Local Area Commander for North Aberdeenshire Chief Inspector Rob Sturton said: “The north-east of Scotland is recognised as a great place to live, work and visit. Across Aberdeenshire, people will be experiencing the lively atmosphere in our towns and villages during the festive period.
“We are encouraging people to go out and enjoy themselves but to take personal responsibility for their behaviour.
“Working closely with partners, including Aberdeenshire Council, emergency services colleagues, third sector organisations, licensed trade, business communities and those helping to convey people safely to and from home, we will make sure that those in need of our help are supported.
“High-visibility patrols with additional visits to licensed premises will be carried out in 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.
“Our message is clear, we want to prevent the minority of people intent on ruining it for those who are looking to go out and enjoy themselves over the festive period.
“Very small numbers of people will seek to take advantage of the situation to commit crime, including shoplifting or stealing handbags, purses or wallets.
“The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for police and our partners. We recognise that it is an important period for people to catch up with friends and family but please don’t leave yourself vulnerable. Becoming involved in violence or anti-social behaviour can have a lasting impact not just on victims, but on you and your family so don’t risk it. Remember, you have to be responsible for your actions.”
A few simple tips can be followed to ensure you have a safe night out:
• If you’re coming 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.
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 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.”
Georgie McRoberts, Chair of the Fraserburgh 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 Sturton added: “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.”