/ Police urge you to party safe this Christmas

Greater Manchester Police officers will be out in force in town and city centres across the county today (Friday 14 December) to ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe and trouble-free night out at one of the busiest times of the year for pubs and clubs.

Under Operation Advent divisional, Special and specialist operation officers will patrol trouble hot spot areas, urging party goers to drink responsibly and advising them how to avoid falling prey to thieves and get home safely.  They will also be on the look-out for trouble makers and nipping any potential disorder in the bud before it has a chance to escalate.

Officers say that excessive alcohol consumption can decrease people’s awareness of what is going on around them, increasing their chances of becoming a victim of crime or being drawn into violent confrontations.

Chief Inspector Gareth Parkin from the Manchester City Centre policing team said “Our town and city centres are lively, vibrant places that offer a wide range of venues for people to celebrate this time of year with family and friends.

“We want people to do that but in a way that keeps them safe and does not spoil other people’s night out.

“GMP officers will be watching out for trouble makers this weekend and making sure that they do not get a chance to ruin what is generally a good start to the holiday season.

“People can help by drinking responsibly, walking away from trouble and staying with and watching out for friends and planning how they will get home safely.

“Christmas is a magical time of peace and good-will to all.  With your help at this special time of year we can ensure that it continues to stay that way”.
People can follow what police are doing for Operation Advent on GMP’s social media networks that include Twitter (using #GMPAdvent) Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and AudioBoo.

They can also use these sites to find out what officers are doing to fight crime in their neighbourhood, comment on police activity and get advice on how they can keep themselves and their property safe from criminals.

In addition, there is an on-line Advent calendar on the GMP website featuring short daily video clips of seasonal crime prevention advice. The message on Friday 14 December features Chief Inspector Gareth Parkin advising party goers on how to stay safe while having fun.

To enjoy a safe fun night out:

Pace your drinks:
• To enjoy a longer night out pace your drinks and drink plenty of water
• Always try to eat something before a night out. This will help soak up the alcohol
• If you feel too drunk, switch to soft drinks for a while. Water will rehydrate your brain, help stop dizziness, lessen the hangover pain and help prevent queasiness.

Friends stay together:
• Go into town together and leave together. Do not wander off from your friends without letting anyone know where you are going and arrange a meeting point in case you do become separated.

Walk away from trouble:
• Be polite. If you accidentally spill someone's drink or bang in to them then apologise
• Walk away from trouble; it's not worth it. If a friend starts becoming aggressive, calm them down and encourage them to sober up with a few soft drinks.

Take safe transport:
• When planning to go out, plan to get home safely
• Try to pre-book a taxi before going out and arrange to be picked up from a safe, well lit, meeting point
• Find out where taxi ranks are and try to choose staffed ones
• If alone, book a taxi firm you know and trust. Do not get into a private hire car (they look like a normal car) unless you have booked them first. Only hackney carriages (traditional black cabs) are insured to carry passengers who have flagged them down. Always sit in the back, preferably behind the driver
• Some pubs and clubs will book you a taxi and allow you to wait in their premises.

Night bus:
• Night buses run until around 3am in parts of Greater Manchester. Find out when the last bus leaves so that you don't become stranded
• Try to catch the bus from stops with bus loaders. If there isn't any in your town, use well-lit bus stops in busy areas
• If alone, sit as near to the driver as possible and avoid empty upper decks. Tell the driver or guard if someone bothers you.

• Avoid walking home alone. If you have no other choice, walk in the middle of the pavement and avoid short cuts through dimly lit deserted areas. Face ongoing traffic where you can be seen as this will avoid the surprise of a vehicle approaching from behind
• If you think you are being followed, cross the street several times if necessary. If you still think you are being followed, walk to the busiest area you can find or knock on somebody's door. There are various help points in Manchester city centre that are linked to a CCTV operator.

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