Stay party safe this New Year

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Police have issued advice ahead of the New Year festivities on how to stay party safe

Here are a few simple steps to keep in mind before heading out to enjoy yourself on a night out.

Plan your night out including how to get home.

Take your mobile phone with you and make sure it’s charged.

Stay with friends and avoid leaving parties or nights out with strangers.

Be sensible about how much alcohol you drink and pace yourself - a drunk person is much more vulnerable and a far easier target for criminals.

Watch your drinks - don’t give anyone the opportunity to alter them with other substances. If you leave a drink unattended then don’t go back to it.

Think about what you’ve had to drink - If you feel very drunk or unwell after just a small amount then ask a trusted friend or a member of the club/pub management for help.

Don’t take drugs or New Psychoactive Substances (sometimes misleadingly called ‘legal highs’).For more information on Drugs, New Psychoactive Substance and Solvent misuse, see the Keep Safe from Substance Misuse advice on the Police Scotland website http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/personal-safety/party-safe.

Don’t have sex with anyone who is unable to give their consent because they are too drunk or under the influence of drugs. In Scots Law this is rape.

Look after bags and valuables. Attracting attention to a phone, especially when leaving a club under the influence of alcohol, makes you more vulnerable to criminals.

Make sure you have enough money left at the end of the night to pay for your journey home.

Stay alert at cash machines. Hide your PIN, be aware of who’s behind you and keep money out of view. Avoid using them if you’ve had too much to drink as you’ll be more vulnerable to being the target of a robbery.

Meeting new people through forums such as dating sites, newspapers columns or speed dating is becoming increasingly popular. However you need to take great care as not everyone may be who they say they are or who they appear to be.

There are risks in a number of ways, including your immediate personal safety, longer term stalking or harassment or being exploited financially. Be sensible and don’t get carried away.

The first time you get together, meet and stay in a populated public place.If you see the person again, meet this way until you feel safe enough to do otherwise.

Tell someone where you’re going, who you’re meeting and when you’ll be back.

If possible, make arrangements to go with a friend – you could always double date.

Don’t accept a lift from your date – however genuine they appear to be.

Don’t fall for hard luck stories – it could be part of a con aimed at exploiting you financially.

Follow the advice we’ve provided above as we would recommend for any night out.

For information about how to protect yourself when using dating sites, social networking, online safety and online scams, see our advice on how to Keep Safe Online.