01/12/2004

Seasonal revellers reminded to ‘Get Home Safe’

Festive revellers are being reminded to make sure that they ‘Get Home Safe’ as the Christmas party season gets into full swing.

The twin safety messages of ‘Think Twice’ before getting into trouble, and plan in advance how you are going to ‘Get Home Safe’ are part of the seasonal campaign that aims to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder, particularly in and around nightlife hotspots. It also encourages people to take more responsibility for their actions when out on the town.

Councillor Jim Clarke, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Health and Environmental Services Committee, said: “Belfast has a very vibrant and ever growing night life, of which we should be very proud.

“However, we need to encourage all involved - the licensees, the bus and taxi drivers, and the young people themselves - to take a more responsible approach to drinking and personal safety”.

Councillor Clarke said that the campaign, which had been very successful in south Belfast and the city centre, is to be widened out to include the entire city.

The Police Service for Northern Ireland is backing the seasonal safety campaign. Inspector Ian Blayney, said: "Evidence from south Belfast has shown that the campaign resulted in a significant reduction in the number of late night assaults and also that people were listening to the key safety messages, such as avoiding fights, travelling in groups and pre-booking taxis or lifts for the way home”.

Councillor Clarke said that the campaign’s success so far had been due to the large number of agencies who were working together to deliver the message. Partners include Belfast City Council, the Belfast Community Safety Partnership, the Police Service, the NIO Community Safety Unit, the Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade, Ultimate Leisure, Victim Support and Belfast City Centre Management.

The ‘Get Home Safe’ campaign includes advertising on local radio, billboards, at bus stops, on taxis, in washrooms of licensed premises and on the backs of cinema and bus tickets.

This week’s relaunch coincides with the launch earlier today of Belfast City Centre Management’s new ‘Citysafe Crime Watch’ scheme to reduce retail crime in Belfast city centre.

The Police Service today announced plans to step up policing in the city over the Christmas period.

(SP)

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