LOTHIAN and Borders Police are urging the public to celebrate a safe and crime-free Christmas.
The festive period is traditionally a busy time for our emergency services with many people enjoying nights out.
During this time, reports of disturbances, assaults and antisocial behaviour tend to increase, with alcohol a significant contributory factor.
Scottish Borders Safer Communities Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson said: “This is a time of celebration and relaxation for our communities, many of whom will be enjoying a night out with family, friends or workmates.
“It is essential that police ensure the public are equipped with all the necessary advice and guidance on staying safe.
“Simple steps such as drinking responsibly and planning journeys to and from your home in advance will help make sure the evening is an enjoyable one.”
In the coming weeks, officers will interact in communities with increasing numbers of patrols promoting responsible behaviour among those enjoying the festivities.
These will include high-visibility patrols of officers carrying out inspections of licensed premises during this time.
Police will also be promoting their Good Nights Out...Get Home Safe campaign, which offers advice and guidance on staying safe during a night out.
The holiday season can also result in increased reports of housebreakings and thefts with criminals targeting the homes of revellers who have left to visit family and friends.
Officers will be on special lookout for potentially vulnerable properties in the Borders over the party season.
Any address identified as a potential target for thieves will be offered home security advice and information on crime prevention.
“As well as promoting personal safety over Christmas and New Year,” continued Chief Inspector Simpson, “we are eager to highlight the importance of home security and would encourage our communities to ensure their properties and possessions are suitably protected against would-be-thieves.
Dr Eric Baijal, Director of Public Health for the Scottish Borders and chair of the Borders Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, added: “These are busy periods for the police and other emergency services, as this period is often associated with the consumption of alcohol.
“All too often people blame their inappropriate or offending behaviour on alcohol.
“We encourage everyone to enjoy themselves. However, it is important that individuals act and take responsibility for their alcohol intake, and think of the consequences before it is too late. We ask people to remain safe and look after themselves, their friends and family.”