A safe season is about teamwork

A collaborative approach between police and the on-trade can help keep the public safe, writes Police Scotland’s inspector Susan Gillon

With the on-trade braced for another bumper festive season, safety must underpin each outlet’s operation.

WITH the festive period once again upon us, restaurants, shops, off-sales, bars and clubs across the country will all experience a significant increase in the volume of people celebrating this special time of year.

Police Scotland values the contribution licence holders and their staff play in keeping people safe, particularly at this time when people are spending time with family and friends, enjoying themselves in your premises.

There is no doubt that the abuse of alcohol can have an extremely damaging and negative impact upon our communities. Irresponsible drinking can lead to violence, anti-social behaviour and increase a person’s vulnerability.

A key objective for Police Scotland during this busy time is to prevent alcohol-fuelled violence, disorder and antisocial behaviour whilst maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

We appreciate your staff will be dealing with increased demand; however, we ask that you ensure that they remain vigilant, monitor customers, intervening where appropriate to avoid escalation of any incidents occurring, and contact police or relevant emergency services at the earliest opportunity as required.

We can assure you that such positive actions do not go unnoticed and we thank you for your continued support.

During the festive period, Police Scotland will promote public safety through the party safe strand of our Keep Safe festive campaign.

Additionally, we provide vulnerability training to members of the licensed trade through the Bystander approach in partnership with Best Bar None and the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit.

The aim is to raise awareness of keeping safe over the festive period and to encourage the public to plan their night out, stick with friends and family, and drink sensibly.

We all have a role to play in ensuring that members of the public are able to enjoy the festivities in a safe and healthy environment.

However, Police Scotland cannot achieve this alone and is looking for your continued support.

Working together in partnership, we can all take appropriate action and/or provide support when there are concerns regarding anyone who appears vulnerable, drunk or unable to take proper care of themselves; Police Scotland will have an increased number of officers on the street who will carry out visits to licensed premises.

We are here to support you and we would encourage you to engage with police – as early interventions are a crucial aspect of prevention.

We understand that your planning for the festive period will be well underway, but if you have any concerns or questions as to how we can support you, please do not hesitate to contact your local licensing department on 101.

Police Scotland is committed to ensuring our communities enjoy the festive period in a safe and healthy manner; together, we can achieve these aims and continue to keep people safe.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and efforts.

We wish you a prosperous festive period and hope you all get a moment to celebrate with family and friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all when it comes!

• Inspector Susan Gillon is part of Police Scotland’s Violence Prevention and Licensing Co-ordination Unit.