Shoppers in Bolton were invited to join police for a 'mocktail' to help launch the Be Safe Partnership’s Christmas crackdown on Tuesday, December 1.
Students from The University of Bolton served up a range of free non-alcoholic cocktails to shoppers from a town centre ‘bar’ on Victoria Square.
Police spoke to shoppers to encourage them to pace their drinks or alternate them with non-alcoholic ones whilst they are out socialising this December.
The seasonal crackdown, named Operation Sherry, will see the police, Council and other agencies working together to ensure that people living and working in the town centre can go about their business trouble-free over the festive period.
During the daytime, activities to target vehicle crime, pick-pocketing and shoplifting will be in place, while the second phase of the operation will focus on Bolton’s vibrant night-time economy.
The Think Safe Drink Safe campaign will run as part of the operation and is being supported by licensees in Bolton’s Pub Watch scheme.
Pubs and bars will display Think Safe Drink Safe posters and till-wobblers in their premises, while others will have staff wearing Think Safe t-shirts.
Bluetooth messages encouraging people to pace their drinks will be sent out around the town centre over the weekends and bottles of water will also be handed out to revellers as they move between bars and clubs.
Taxi marshalls will also be ensuring that people can get home quickly and safely at the end of their night out, with dedicated officers working every Friday and Saturday between 11pm and 4am throughout December, except Christmas Eve.
Inspector Phil Spurgeon said: “There is lots of activity going on throughout December, to ensure that whether people are out shopping, working or socialising in Bolton town centre, they can do so safely.
“In particular this year, we will be working even more closely with our pubs and clubs to ensure the town stays trouble-free. We’ve seen good reductions in levels of violent crime across Bolton over the past few years and this latest initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to keep it that way. Anyone that plans on coming to Bolton to cause trouble need not bother, as we will be watching out for you.”
Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail said: “Traditionally, the town centre becomes busier in the run up to Christmas and we want residents and visitors to Bolton to enjoy their time here.
“Whether people are shopping or enjoying a night out, the Be Safe partnership has come up with a range of devices aimed at helping people to celebrate safely and responsibly. Pacing your drinks and alternating with non-alcoholic ones can mean the difference between a great night out and one that ends in tears.”
To report crime, please call police on 0161 872 5050 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.