Beware the risks of festive spirits

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Ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest weekends of the year, Bedfordshire Police is urging people to follow their advice to ensure they don’t face spending Christmas behind bars.

During the festive season, police traditionally see an increase in violent incidents fuelled by alcohol.

Sergeant Craig Gurr, from the Bedfordshire Police licensing team, said: “It’s understandable that people want to celebrate this time of year by going out for a few drinks with friends and family. But alcohol is not an excuse for a violent behaviour. That’s why this month we are focusing on educating people on consequences of excessive drinking and incidents related to this issue.

“Getting drunk can make you more likely to commit a crime, so please drink responsibly. Don’t be tempted to ‘pre-load’ at home, pace yourself while drinking and drink plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks.

“Police custody isn’t a fun place to be at any time, let alone at Christmas. So if you’d prefer to spend the festive season at home with your family, please drink in moderation and stay calm.”

The force is also reminding people of the issues surrounding consent and alcohol. Someone who is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol is not able to give their consent to sexual activity.

Detective Inspector Ryan Brammer from Bedfordshire Police’s Emerald team said: “This season, and indeed all year round, we want to educate people about what constitutes consent. If someone is not free and capable of giving their consent, for example if they have fallen asleep or they are incapacitated by drink or drugs, then to pursue sexual activity with them is a crime.

“It’s also not okay to force sexual acts on people who may not want them, purely because you know them, are in a relationship with them or have had sex with them before. The message from us is that no consent means no.”

You can get more Christmas safety advice on the Bedfordshire Police website.

If you wish to report a crime - call 101, if the crime is in progress or if it’s an emergency always call 999. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.