Spring is just around the corner and the warmer, lighter evenings that will hopefully follow should offer us plenty of opportunity for getting outdoors and socialising.
While the arrival of warmer weather is always appreciated, the longer nights and the holiday season isn’t always good news for policing with crime and disorder commonly increasing.
Like other forces, we often see a spike in drink-fuelled violence, not just in pubs and clubs but also at domestic barbecues, during summer.
Wherever there is a plentiful supply of alcohol, the risks of aggression are never far away and we must rely on self-control to ensure a fun evening doesn’t turn violent.
The messages of my Safe Night Out campaign are as pertinent to summer as they are during the festive period and I would re-appeal to those partygoers who enjoyed a safe and sensible Christmas to remain every bit as cautious this summer.
Drinking to excess clouds our judgment and causes us to make choices we would never normally make – decisions which could result in us becoming a victim or a perpetrator of crime.
It’s tempting to forgo the taxi and risk the walk home when the weather is warm but as we have sadly discovered in the past, this can be a fatal mistake.
An immense amount of police resources are required to monitor the night-time economy and to keep people safe.
These resources are not infinite and are becoming harder to maintain given our current funding situation. I’m all for people enjoying a night out to help support the businesses which depend on their custom. I would just urge people to remain in full control.
Violent crime will always dominate the headlines but I’m also very mindful of the sheer volume of low-level crime occurring within our borders which makes a huge difference to people’s lives.
Every day, dozens of minor crimes are reported to police such as criminal damage to cars, property stolen from play areas and antisocial behaviour.
These crimes may never appear on a newspaper front page but they still damage public confidence and intensify fear of crime.
A huge amount of police work goes into deterring, preventing or investigating crimes that are not ‘major’ issues - unless you are the victim.
These crimes couldn’t be solved without the support of the public in coming forward with information.
Remaining vigilant helps us to builder safer environments for our children and ensures our communities are a more threatening place to criminals.
This is something we can all contribute to community safety.