Sobering message for party season

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Before I launch into the big ticket message this week, a big thank you to everyone who took the time to write/e-mail/high five me in the dried goods aisle and offer up your support for our ongoing violence reduction Project Ajax.

Seems I hit another nerve with a lot of people and rest assured, we are trying our very best to stop acts of violence and antisocial behaviour happening. My boys and girls across #anguspolis land have been very busy over the last two weeks and we intend to keep up the pressure.

It’s the start of the Christmas party season. Work colleagues, clubs and associations all over the county will be getting ready for that special night to celebrate the arrival of the festive season and to let their hair down. Tinsel, baubles, party dresses, suits, can guess I don’t get out much these days.

It’s a great time of the year - most people get into the spirit and enjoy themselves. There are, of course, the usual idiots who try to spoil it for everyone else but they are most certainly in the minority and more often than not, they get dealt with early on (my famous tweet last year “there is no place to hang up your stocking in a police cell” says it all...).

The party nights do bring an added issue that does concern me and for good reason. Some people, who, shall we say, are not regular party goers, can find themselves in vulnerable situations, which can lead to incidents. Remember my famous saying - “drink in, sense out”? Everyone going on a Christmas night out takes plenty of time to prepare and make arrangements to get to the party intact and on time.

However, some people forget to make arrangements for the end of the night and that’s when they find themselves often out on a limb. Mobile battery dead, money spent, taxis like hens’ teeth, no way of getting home other than walking in either four-inch heels or, worse, bare feet.

I remember a tragic incident from a good few years ago which I was involved in. A young lady had gone out with her office colleagues to the Christmas party and had ended up drinking shots on top of wine, cider and vodka, despite having little tolerance or experience of strong liquor.

Near the end of the night, the lady had left the venue on her own, walked out of the car park in near freezing temperatures and quickly became disoriented and hypothermic. Instead of walking back the two miles to town and safety, she turned the wrong way and headed into the countryside.

I was involved in the police search operation which took more than eight days to find her body. She died freezing and alone in a ploughed field three miles from the hotel. An immensely tragic set of circumstances. I can still vividly remember picking up her little velvet handbag from a ditch and finding six little green shot glasses inside.

So, please ladies (and gentlemen, for it can so easily happen to you as well) make your preparations for both the beginning and the end of the party night. Have a “get home safe” plan and let others know what it is.

There is always safety in numbers so please stay with friends or make sure everyone in the party is accounted for. Have your taxi money stashed away in your wallet or purse, or better still, book the taxi for the return or get someone to collect you.

If all else fails, and you find yourself stranded, get to safety and contact the police. We are not a taxi service by any means but we will not ignore your pleas for help.

This is not a kill-joy message and please don’t think I’m trying to dissuade anyone from going out to enjoy themselves. All I ask is that you take care, have a plan and keep safe. I can still see those six little green shot glasses neatly stacked one inside the other.

Enough for now. Keep safe, enjoy the season and remember the drink drive reduced on December 5. My advice as always is - the safest way is either drink OR drive. Don’t do both.

Over and out. @gordie2009