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Highland Life / News / Northern Constabulary News / Police Remind Public "Don't Push It" This Party Season

Police Remind Public "Don't Push It" This Party Season

Issued: 18 Dec 2006

NORTHERN Constabulary and its partner agencies are aware that party season is now in full swing and are reminding the public of the Highlands and Islands to take responsibility for their own safety.

Police and Highland Drug and Alcohol Action Team are attempting to reduce incidents of violence across the Force area, but Police insist members of the public have their own part to play in achieving this.

Northern Constabulary, Highland Drug and Alcohol Action Team (HDAAT), the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and NHS Highland teamed up recently to encourage the public of the Highlands to drink sensibly this Festive season.

The Safer Scotland campaign against knife crime and violence entered its festive phase last week and Northern Constabulary's Safer Scotland co-ordinator, Chief Inspector Ian Arnott, said he was disappointed with the number of incidents of violence.

The figures for Northern Constabulary Force area for the two weeks of the Festive phase are as follows:
Serious assaults - 8
Petty assaults - 97 (one in which a knife was involved)
Knives seized - 5
Litres of alcohol seized from people drinking in public - 112
Visits to licensed premises by Police - 188
People drinking in public places - 24

He said: "Obviously it is disappointing that there have been such levels of assault, although I have no doubt that drink played its part in many if not all these incidents.

"Our officers will continue to carry out high profile patrols, visits to licensed premises and we would encourage everyone to be aware of their personal safety during the "party season."

He added: "We would urge people to look after friends and family at this time of year, not allow them to over indulge and ensure families know their whereabouts."

"If you are planning to go out give parents or loved ones an idea of where you will be, when you plan to return, and to use taxis when possible to ensure a safe passage home."

"We want people to enjoy the Festive season, but the message is still Don't Push It and don't let becoming a victim or perpetrator or crime spoil it."

The Highland Drug & Alcohol Action Team launched their "Alcohol - Don't Push It" campaign last week with a promotional event run jointly with Moray Firth Radio in the Eastgate centre.

Over 500 goody bags containing useful information about responsible drinking were distributed to shoppers.

This initiative is being run in support of the Scottish Executive's national campaign and HDAAT is further reinforcing this message with its sponsorship of the MFR Drivetime show.

Elaine Fetherston, HDAAT Development Officer states: "This is a time of celebration and that creates close links with drinking in most people's minds."

"Our Festive drinking campaign is about encouraging people to use alcohol responsibly over Christmas and New Year and not pushing friends and family to drink."

Chief Inspector Arnott has also warned those who commit acts of violence that the Force's detection rate for Class 1 crime (serious and violent crime) remains at around 94%.

This simply means that you are more likely to be caught committing a serious crime in Northern Constabulary Force area than anywhere else in Scotland.

He said: "Our detection rate for Class 1 crime remains very high so the message we are trying to convey is crystal clear, you will be caught."

The chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in Northern Constabulary Force area are relatively rare. This type of crime does not happen very often but when it does the consequences can be catastrophic.

Northern Constabulary believes there are a number of victims who do not report crimes of violence and Police would encourage those people to come forward and support their desire to bring those responsible to justice.

Chief Inspector Arnott said: "We would encourage people who have become a victim of crime to report the matter to Police.

"They should contact their nearest Police station or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service remain fully supportive of the festive campaign to reduce violence and curb the amount of drink consumed over the period.

The next phase of the Safer Scotland campaign will focus on outstanding arrest warrants, of which there are approximately 800. These include warrants for minor offences, road traffic offences, but also include a small number which relate to crimes of violence.

Chief Inspector Arnott said: "I would encourage anyone to take this opportunity to present themselves to the courts or Police so these matters can be resolved sooner rather than later."

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