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Action week to target alcohol harm
AN ACTION week promoting responsible drinking and targeting alcohol-related crime and disorder has been launched to coincide with Freshers' Week.
Warwickshire and West Mercia Police forces are working together supporting this week’s national In Focus: Alcohol Harm campaign organised by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
It will focus largely on getting key advice across to students starting university or college for the first time and urge people to drink with care, know their limits and to stay safe.
Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams are liaising closely with schools, colleges and universities, in some cases speaking directly to students about alcohol issues.
From the beginning of this month, the University of Worcester has sponsored two police community support officers for three years who will be speaking with students to circulate the alcohol harm message.
Throughout the In Focus: Alcohol Harm week, street pastors and special constables are assisting officers during night time patrols in city and town centres while officers are using social media to get their messages across with a stream of advisory tweets.
Thousands of beer mats, posters and flyers have been given out to pubs, clubs, bars, off licences and other public locations highlighting the pitfalls of excessive drinking.
The campaign is being backed by several current police campaigns, including Call Time on Violent Crime which urges people of all ages to drink safely while on a night out.
It carries a reminder that nearly 50 per cent of all violent crime is alcohol-related and that extreme drinking increases the likelihood of committing or becoming a victim of crime.
As well as violence, alcohol has links to other crimes including rape and sexual offences.
Posters, stickers and scratch cards have been distributed throughout Warwickshire and West Mercia with advice around consent.
The www.stoprapenow.co.uk website stresses that regardless of how much alcohol has been drunk, sex without consent is rape.
Chief Superintendent Martin McNevin, from the Warwickshire and West Mercia Alliance, said: “Police officers see and deal with the consequences of people losing control through drinking too much alcohol.
“It is not a pleasant sight, and worse still, often ends in regret and sometimes in tragedy. When people have been drinking to the point of becoming virtually senseless, they are extremely vulnerable – totally incapable of looking after themselves.”
He said it was not a case of the police saying “don’t drink” – but rather, urging people not to drink to the point of oblivion, or to the extent where they become a danger to themselves and others.
“People of all ages on an evening out should be able to enjoy facilities provided by the night-time economy without being caught up in alcohol-related disorder or suffering interference from drunken and sometimes violent individuals.
“The police role is to maintain law and order and to make sure people’s safety is not jeopardised.
"This is what Alcohol Harm week is all about – a reminder that excessive drinking so often leads to distressing situations which could have been avoided with a little more care and thought.”
Top tips for safe drinking: Pace yourself – alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks.
Eat before you start drinking.
Drink in groups – don’t be left on your own.
Know your limits – don’t drink until you’re completely drunk.
Don’t accept drinks from strangers and never leave your drink unattended.
Look out for your friends and make sure they look out for you.
Ensure you have a safe way to get home – either a designated driver or taxi.
Let people know where you’re going and who with.
Have a contact on speed dial in case of emergencies.
Don’t drink and drive.
Avoid mixing drugs (prescribed or otherwise) and alcohol.
Avoid trouble – nearly 50 per cent of violent crime is alcohol-related.
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