Party safe, home safe – have fun but stay safe this festive season

It’s the time of year for festive parties, nights out and seasonal celebrations. Whilst the focus is naturally on fun and enjoyment, Buckinghamshire Council is asking partygoers to remember some simple but sensible ways to stay safe this festive season.

With social engagements increasing during December, it’s easy to find yourself drinking more alcohol than usual which of course, can have a negative impact on your health. Remember to always drink within your limits and try to stick to the recommended six medium glasses of wine or six pints of beer per week. It’s also important to have some alcohol-free days each week. The Live Well Stay Well website has lots of information and advice for those looking to cut back on their alcohol consumption, and the NHS website explains more about how units of alcohol are calculated.

When out and about, don’t forget to keep your drink close and don’t leave it unattended. Equally, be wary of accepting a drink from someone you don’t know. Although rare, drink spiking can occur anywhere, so it pays to be vigilant. The Thames Valley Police website has more information on how to stay safe.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Community Safety team works closely with Thames Valley Police and local bars, pubs and clubs to promote safety messaging for all staff so they know what to do if they notice anything suspicious or spot someone in distress. Information packs have been sent to venues including details on what they can do to increase safety and awareness. Initiatives including ‘Ask for Angela’ are promoted to late night entertainment venues in Buckinghamshire. If a customer feels unsafe in one of the participating venues, they can go to a member of staff and ask to speak to ‘Angela’. This will alert the staff to the situation, and they will take steps to ensure the person is helped as needed. More information on the Ask for Angela initiative and the local participating venues can be found on the council’s website.

When it’s time to go home, make sure you stay safe by only getting into a licensed taxi or plan your journey on public transport. The Get Your Coat mobile app is a handy, free tool that can be programmed to send reminders of last bus and train times, send instant location messages to your contacts or make a one touch call to a saved number.

Arif Hussain, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “December is a wonderful time to enjoy meeting up with friends and family and after several years of restricted gatherings, many people are really looking forward to their celebrations this year. We don’t want to put a dampener on things but would just like to remind people that it doesn’t hurt to take a few simple precautions to ensure that you stay safe this festive season.”

Angela Macpherson, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health added: “It’s so easy to overindulge at this time of year but cutting back a bit doesn’t have to spoil your fun. Drinking less alcohol has multiple benefits, from dropping a few pounds in weight to saving money and improving your mental health. You can still go out and have a good time, but you will benefit in so many ways. I would recommend everyone gives it a go.”

Chief Inspector Robb Webb of Thames Valley Police added some further advice for partygoers. He said: “As we enter the Christmas party season, many of us are planning how to celebrate with friends and colleagues. Planning the end of your night and your journey home is just as important as how you plan to start your night.

“If you drive into town and are going to drink then plan in advance how you will get home and keep money aside to ensure that’s still an option when you get to the end of the night. Make sure your phone is charged so you can keep an eye on public transport and can call friends or family if needed.

“As is usual, officers will be patrolling town centres throughout the festive season so please do speak to them if you have any concerns or need help. If you see inappropriate behaviour then please tell someone. If it’s a friend then challenge them directly or speak to a member of bar staff, door staff or officers. By working together, everyone can enjoy their night out safely.”

For more information on staying safe this party season visit the council’s website.