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Source: United Kingdom London Metropolitan Police

The festive season is nearly upon us and the Met wishes you a safe and happy Christmas.

At this time of year, many people will be out celebrating and having fun with family and friends in restaurants, pubs and clubs and we want to provide you with some tips to help you stay safe.

Detective Chief Superintendent Helen Lyons, the Met’s Safeguarding lead, said: “We want everyone to be safe and have a happy time this Christmas in our beautiful and vibrant city.

“Working with our partners, including TFL, we want to raise awareness around travel during the festive season. To avoid confusion during such a busy season, pre-book private hire cabs or hail a London black cab on the street.

“If you are socialising and then travelling alone, please think about letting someone else know where you are and when you are home safe. Please stick to well-lit streets and trust your instincts; if you feel uneasy then move to an area where there are more people.

“Drinking alcohol will affect your judgement and decision making, so please think about your safety when you are out enjoying the festive season. If your plans change then tell someone, or if you feel uneasy about your safety or that of another, try to get to a safe space, where you can get help, including that of the police.

“We just want you to have a great time and ensure you get home safely.”

Officers are working hard across the Met to make sure you are safe inside licensed premises. For example, we often ensure that as part of a licence, the venue has effective CCTV and some venues may have welfare officers circulating within the premises. Security Industries Authority (SIA) trained staff (door staff) are there to ensure public safety and prevent crime and disorder.

Chief Operating Officer Khadir Meer, from the London Ambulance Service, said: “We have a simple message for Londoners: have a great time, but take care and look out for one another.

“Every ambulance responding to someone who has drunk too much is an ambulance that becomes unavailable for someone else who may be seriously injured.”

To reduce the risk of experiencing crime during the festive season here are a few more helpful tips:

Getting there and back:

– Plan your journey to and from home and if you get a taxi or minicab, make sure it is licensed.
– Don’t travel with a driver who has drunk alcohol or who may be under the influence of drugs.
– Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be home.
– Keep your mobile phone and valuables out of sight. If you’re using your phone it’s more likely to be snatched from your hand as you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, so look around you.
– Remember to keep hold of your bags and phone in restaurants and pubs.
– If you think someone is following you, check by crossing the street – more than once if necessary – to see if they follow. If you are still worried, get to the nearest place where there are other people – a pub or anywhere with a lot of lights on and if you feel you are in danger call police immediately on 999.
– Stick with friends – don’t leave nights out on your own or with strangers. Take care of each other and make sure you all get home safely.
– Don’t take short-cuts through dark alleys, parks or across waste ground.
– Use routes that are well lit, and walk facing the traffic.
– If you’re walking home on a cold night make sure you’re dressed to keep warm.

While you are out:

– Drink spiking is rare but can occur with any drink, so take the following precautions:
– Make sure your drink isn’t left unattended, if you do you should consider discarding it.
– Stick to only accepting drinks from people that you know well.
– If your drink tastes stronger of alcohol or different in any way than usual, check with the server or the purchaser, and do not consume.
– If you begin to feel intoxicated or otherwise unwell, seek help from a trusted friend or a responsible person within the club/pub/licensed premises.

Think before you offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive; you can help reduce the number of people who are killed and injured every year by drink driving.

For more information on staying safe throughout December, visit the City of London Corporation’s website: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/eatpaceplan or on Twitter via hashtags #EatPlacePlan and #NoRegrets

The Met is working with venues across London to help prevent and reduce sexual violence and vulnerability. To find out more visit: www.met.police.uk/AskforAngela

An LGBTQ+ support scheme is also supported by various London venues: ‘Ask for Clive’: @clive_ask

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