PEOPLE in Dorset are being reminded to take care of themselves this Christmas – when incidents of violent crime rise in the county.
As a result, Dorset Police said officers will be carrying out enhanced patrols in towns across the county in a bid to help keep people safe.
In Bournemouth, high-visibility patrols will be taking place ahead of Christmas and New Year’s Eve as part of Operation Snowglow and Operation Nightjar to tackle violence and anti-social behaviour linked to the night-time economy.
Officers from the Bournemouth Town Team will also be on patrol, supported by BCP Council’s CSAS team.
In the west of the county, response officers will be assisted by the Force Support Group on peak celebration days to carry out proactive preventative patrols in the main town centres, including Weymouth, Dorchester and Bridport.
Officers from Weymouth Neighbourhood Policing Team, supported by the Special Constabulary, will also be providing enhanced patrols during the party season, including dedicated operations to identify and disrupt predatory behaviour.
The force is this year supporting a new national winter Walk Away campaign, which aims to prevent deaths and serious injuries caused by someone being assaulted on a night out, often as a result of drunken behaviour, or split-second errors of judgement.
Men aged 18 to 30 are most likely to be a victim or suspect of such behaviour and the initiative calls on friends and bystanders of potential offenders, as well as members of the public, to de-escalate situations when it’s safe to.
Chief Superintendent Heather Dixey said: “Tackling violent crime remains a priority for Dorset Police. All too often we very sadly hear that someone’s life has been irreversibly altered because of a single momentary lapse of control.
“Together with our partners we are committed to doing everything we can to keep people safe this Christmas and New Year by carrying out targeted patrols in key locations.
“However, we cannot do it alone and we are asking people to take some personal responsibility, look after each other and not get into situations where behaviour can escalate into violence.
“I am encouraging those going out to celebrate the festive season to know when you have had enough to drink, plan how you are going to get home and look after your friends and family.
“If you are out and a situation becomes heated, step in and try to talk them down, steer them away from the situation and encourage them to walk away. If the situation escalates, ask others around you for help or call 999.
“Finally, my warning to those who are intent on committing violent acts is very clear. There is no place in our communities for violence and we will do all we can to bring offenders to justice.
“If you commit a violent offence you can expect to get a criminal record, which could affect your career and reputation. Don’t regret your night out.”
You can find more tips about dealing with a violent situation at www.dorset.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/personal-safety-how-to-stay-safe/respond-violent-situation or via the national Walk Away campaign, at wewalkaway.uk.