Police warn of dangers over Christmas

PARTYGOERS are being urged to keep safe this Christmas in a bid to try and reduce the number of sexual assaults that happen over the festive period.Suffolk Police issued the plea yesterday at the launch of their Alcohol - Where are the choices taking you campaign.

PARTYGOERS are being urged to keep safe this Christmas in a bid to try and reduce the number of sexual assaults that happen over the festive period.

Suffolk Police issued the plea yesterday at the launch of their Alcohol - Where are the choices taking you campaign.

The initiative aims to prevent people becoming the victims of rape and other serious assaults by having greater consideration for the possible consequences of consuming too much alcohol when going for a night out in the county.

Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert said: “We are not asking people to stop enjoying themselves or to stop drinking completely.


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“We just want them to take a little more care so that they don't regret their actions in the morning and get themselves into a situation that they normally wouldn't get into.

“We are concerned that women in particular are consuming excessive amounts of alcohol when out, and as a result are making themselves vulnerable to predatory males, who are prepared to take advantage of the victim's temporary loss of self control.

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“We realise that the advice we are giving flies in the face of the hard drinking 'laddette' culture that has pervaded our society during the last few years, “However we believe that women are more empowered by taking responsibility for their actions, retaining their self-control, dignity and self-respect.”

Over the last three years the number of sexual assaults have peaked in December.

But police are hoping that by encouraging people to limit their consumption of alcohol and take care of their friends they can reduce the number of such incidents.

Since April 1 2002, Suffolk Constabulary has recorded 33 separate incidents where the victim thought that they had their drink spiked with a noxious substance while they were in a public place.

Det Supt Lambert added: “Rape by a total stranger remains a rare offence in Suffolk, most of the time the victim will know the offender.

“The message is clear: Drink to enjoy yourself, not to become a victim.

“Don't drink too much and risk making yourself vulnerable to exploitation by sexual predators or other criminals who will take advantage of you.

“Don't be tempted to go off with a stranger that you have just met. If you simply can't resist them make sure a friend knows where you are going and with whom.

“Think to yourself what do I know about this person and do I really want to go back with them?

“We can't emphasise enough how important it is for members of the public to be responsible when out drinking.

“Drinks should always be kept in sight or left under the supervision of someone you trust.

“If we can ensure that just one potential victim is saved this Christmas then we have had a success.”

As part of the campaign 25,000 pocket-sized 'z-cards' will be handed out at pubs, clubs, schools and shopping centres to make sure than young women aged between 13 and 18 think hard about alcohol and the effect its misuse could have on their lives.

The initiative is part of Suffolk Constabulary's Night Safe campaign, aimed at making the county safer through reducing alcohol related crime.

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