Whether you’re planning a big night out for New Year’s, or just a festive pub trip with your housemates, staying safe while you’re out and about is more important than ever. We’ve got some top tips from Thames Valley Police to make sure you’re protecting yourself and those around you this holiday season.
Whether you’re planning a big night out for New Year’s, or just a festive pub trip with your housemates, staying safe while you’re out and about is more important than ever, and we’ve got some top tips from Thames Valley Police to make sure you’re protecting yourself and those around you this holiday season.
Charge Your Phone
We’ve all been there - it’s time to head home after a great night out and your phone has died. Luckily, you’re with a friend who can order a taxi home - but what if you weren’t? Making sure you head out with a fully charged phone is such an easy way to keep yourself safe. If you do get caught out, see if a staff member at the bar/club could help you, or if there are any publicly available charging stations near where you’re out.
Stick Together and Don’t Leave a Friend on Their Own
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re out, and before you know it you’ve lost track of one of your friends. Chances are they’re off having fun, but they could also be in trouble and need some help. Make sure to keep in touch with your group throughout the night, and never leave someone out on their own, especially if they’ve had a few too many drinks.
Plan Your Night and How to Get Home and Only Ever Use Licensed Taxis
Preparation is key, make sure you know how you’re going to get home and have a backup plan in case something goes wrong while you’re out. If you’re using a taxi, make sure you know they are licensed, or if you’re using an app like Uber, that you’re traveling with someone else if possible. Make sure to share your travel plans with friends, so they know when to expect you home.
Watch Your Drinks and Be Vigilant When in Crowded Areas
There’s been a sharp increase in incidences of spiking in night-time venues across the country in recent months. Spiking is never the fault of the victim, but there are some key preventative measures that you can take to reduce the risk of being affected. We released an article earlier this term as part of our Spiked? campaign outlining some of these, and what to do if you think you’ve been spiked.
No means No. Consent is everything.
You’ve probably already seen the “Tea and Consent” video but in case you haven’t, check it out. It’s a really good metaphor to explain the importance of consent, which is especially important to be mindful of if you’ve been drinking, as this affects your judgment. If you’ve been affected by sexual assault, there is support available.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you’ve got into trouble on a night out, there are people who can help. If you’re at a bar or club, a staff or security member is a good place to start to get some help. The emergency services are always available if you need them - always call 999 in the event of an emergency. You may be hesitant to contact emergency services if you are under the influence of illegal substances, but in the case of a life-threatening situation, such as a suspected overdose, your safety is always the priority, so don’t be afraid to get help.
If you’re out and about in a town centre, you may be able to get some help from your local Street Angels - a network of volunteers who patrol the streets around nightclubs offering support to vulnerable partygoers and those in need. You can find your local project here.
Thames Valley Police have provided some useful information about how Street Angels works in Windsor:
Windsor Street Angels is a community project which is supported by Thames Valley Police and is part of the Windsor Christian Action charity. The aim of the project is to place trained volunteers into the nighttime community of Windsor every Friday and Saturday evening between 10pm and 5am, in order to help anyone in need. This might be a young person who has left a club without the means to get home or someone who is unwell or has suffered an injury. They also offer assistance to the homeless community and provide soup, blankets and toiletries.
Since starting in 2012, Windsor Street Angels has supported over 50,000 people and due to the success of the project in 2018 we launched the Windsor Safety Hub, which is based out of the Windsor Baptist Church and provides Sanctuary, Support, First Aid and a Quiet Space. The hub is open every Saturday evening between 10pm and 3am.
We are extremely fortunate to have an excellent team of volunteers who are committed and passionate about helping anyone who needs it. While out on patrol the teams also look out for criminality, including predatory behaviour, and they will notify the police and CCTV operators of their observations to safeguard the victims and to deal with the perpetrators.
There are many shifts where the Street Angels provide vital intervention and safeguarding to vulnerable women who may have been targeted by individuals acting predatory or have been victims of domestic abuse. In these instances, the women concerned are escorted back to the hub where they will continue to be supported by the angels and the police who are based their too.
The Safety Hub is a comfortable and safe place that is staffed by Street Angel volunteers, PCSO’s and police officers.
In the event of an emergency, the emergency services can be contacted 24/7 by calling 999. If you’re on public transport, you can report a concern by texting the British Transport Police on 61016.
If you have concerns about your mental health, the Surrey and Borders NHS Crisis Mental Health Hotline is available 24/7 on 0800 915 4644 and Samaritans offer 24/7 support, just call 116 123, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. For advice about urgent health issues, you can also call 111.
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