Don't make it easy for thieves
Be aware of your surroundings.
In the pub
When you're drunk, you're easier to rob. You're also more likely to lose your stuff like your house keys, your money or your travel pass. Without these, you're going to have trouble getting home which is bad news if you've had too much to drink.
To keep your things safe, keep them out of sight. So don't leave your mobile out on the pub table where everyone can see it and don't advertise your valuables such as MP3 players or laptops.
Women feel most in danger walking down the street, yet it's men who are the most likely victims of muggers.
- Keep bags closed, zipped up and buckled
- Be extra careful with rucksacks – if someone grabs it, let it go. Bags, and their contents, can be replaced
- When using a cash machine choose a well-lit one
- Don't be flash with your cash, mobile, MP3 or other valuables – keep them in your pocket
- Keep your valuables hidden while you're on public transport – particularly if there's a risk you might fall asleep which may increase the risk of you being robbed
- If you suspect you're being followed, cross over the road to see if they follow. If you're still worried, don't hang about. Go into a pub or shop to call a mate to meet you, or the police
- Remember if you're chatting on the phone or listening to your personal stereo, you won't hear someone come up behind you. Your hearing is your best protection; your voice is your best defence. If you're attacked, shout and run
- Have your house keys ready before you reach the door – and carry them on you, not in your bag. Rummaging around for them stops you from looking at what's around you
- Walk confidently and be aware of what's going on at all times
- Try to blend in rather than stand out in a way that advertises that you've had too much to drink
- When your instinct says there's trouble ahead, there probably is. Get somewhere safe
- Steer clear of a confrontation. It's not worth the hassle – always escape if you can
- If something does happen to you, report it to the police. You could prevent it from happening to someone else
You might think you can control yourself, but you can't control how other people behave when they're drunk. Young men are particularly vulnerable to violent attacks by other people who've been drinking.
Don't get caught up in it
Alcohol can make people more violent. So when you're out drinking, there's always a risk of getting into a fight.
To avoid trouble, remember:
- Don't feel under pressure to get drunk
- Be aware that when drunk you may appear threatening to others – which in turn may impact on how they behave towards you
- Avoid violence by talking your way out of potentially aggressive situations and avoid using aggressive body language or verbal communication
- Be aware that however much you feel able to look after yourself no-one should attempt to compete with weapons or gangs. If you find yourself in this situation, get away as fast as you can
If you start a fight, steal or damage property when you're on a night out bear in mind that the consequences can be severe.
For a start, you may receive a criminal record. This could affect your freedom to travel and work.
You could also be issued with a fine, such as an FPN (Fixed Penalty Notice). Here are some examples of fines:
- £50 if you drink alcohol in a 'no alcohol' public area, are drunk in the street or drink under the age of 18
- £80 if you harass, alarm or distress someone or behave in a disorderly way
- £80 if you are under 18 and try to buy alcohol or have it bought for you by someone else
- £80 if you vomit or urinate in the street
You may also be issued with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO). Although it is a civil order, it is a firm measure to stop the behaviour that led to the order being made. This could involve you being banned from places you like to go to. If you fail to keep to the conditions of the order, you will have committed a criminal offence and you could go to prison for up to five years. To enforce the order your details could be given to the local community for their protection so they can tell the police or local authority if the terms of the order are broken.
Remember, too, that what you do when you're drunk doesn't just affect you. It affects the friends you're with, the people in the local area and the emergency services who might be called to deal with a situation you get involved in – when they could be helping someone else.
Be twice as careful
You are more likely to have an accident when you are drunk.
Most accidents after drinking can be avoided if you're careful. Obviously, if you're so drunk that you're dizzy or falling over, you could do yourself a serious injury – make sure you ask someone you trust to look after you.
When you've been drinking, you're at much greater risk of being run over. People often misjudge traffic when drunk due to slowed reactions. So take extra care when crossing the road and leave yourself more time than you normally would.
Emergencies How to cope with them
If a friend loses consciousness after drinking:
- Call 999 and ask for an ambulance
- Lie them on their side with their top leg bent towards their chest (recovery position)
- Make sure they're breathing and their mouth and airways are clear
- If they stop breathing, do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
- Keep them warm (but not hot) – with blankets or a coat
If someone vomits you should:
- Try to keep them sitting up
- Lie them in the recovery position, if they have to lie down
- Get help immediately, if they begin to choke