Have a safe night out this Christmas

“Have a great time this festive season, but stay safe and keep out of trouble” is the message from a multi-agency task force that’s been looking at ways to ensure Christmas revellers have a safe and trouble-free night out and reduce pressure on the emergency services in Basildon this Christmas.

The task-force, with representatives from Basildon Police, Basildon District Council, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Trust, Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Festival Leisure Park, has come up with a range of initiatives to help manage the crowds, keep trouble to a minimum and offer help and support to festive partygoers.

Tom Abell, Chief Officer at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, who is heading up the task-force said, “The Christmas period can put an enormous additional pressure on already stretched public services.  All the agencies that form part of Basildon’s Community Safety Partnership knew that this year a co-ordinated approach was needed to try and tackle some of these problems.

“Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park is the major evening destination within Basildon and attracts thousands of people each week to its restaurants, bars and clubs. The Park’s management have been very keen to work with us to make sure that visitors can have a safe and enjoyable night out this Christmas and that the right support is there if anyone finds themselves in trouble.”

Bala Mahendran, Chief Executive of Basildon Borough Council and Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, said: “Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it can also create issues for public agencies like the Hospital, Police and Council.

“It is great to see this joined up approach at the most visited night- time destination in the Borough.  This will not only help people to have a fun and safe festive period, but reduce the burden on what are taxpayer funded services.”

Initiatives include an increased Police and security presence at the Park on the busiest nights in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year, as well as an ambulance with first-aiders and a paramedic stationed in the car park.  Basildon’s SOS bus will be offering a safe-haven for anyone who finds themselves in any kind of difficulty and taxi marshals will be managing the crowd around the taxi rank and helping people to leave the Park safely at the end of the night.

There is, of course, lots that people can do to keep themselves safe on a night out:

Plan how you are going to get home. Be cabsafe - pre-book a taxi if necessary and keep your taxi money separately so you don’t spend it.  Try to share with friends and make sure it is licensed.

Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have credit.

Eat something before you go out, and alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water.

Watch how much you are drinking. You are much more likely to do something risky if you’ve had too much to drink, and more likely to lose your wallet, phone or keys.

Stay with your friends and look after each other – especially those who have had too much to drink.

Twitter users can follow #safenightout for hints and tips on staying safe while having fun at the Festival Leisure Park this festive season.

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