If you’re out in Lancaster having a Christmas drink this week - don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.
Lancaster Pubwatch has launched a new scheme called Home Safe, which aims to get people back home safely if they’ve had one too many.
Home Safe has been praised by Lancaster Police Chief Inspector Ian Cooper, who said the scheme will help to reduce pressure on emergency services over the busy festive period.
The launch of the project comes as the Royal Lancaster Infirmary struggles to cope with A&E admissions.
Lancaster Pub Watch has set up Home Safe in conjunction with the police, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, FGH Security and Lancaster Street Pastors.
City centre pub staff have been trained in how to spot someone who has had enough to drink, or for whom the next drink would be one too many, and how to deal with them politely and safely.
Lancaster Pub Watch chairman Tim Tomlinson said: “We want as many people as possible to come into the city centre over the Christmas period and enjoy Lancaster’s many wonderful pubs, bars and restaurants. But we also want to make sure they don’t overdo it. If someone has had too much to drink, they may not be in a suitable state to get themselves home safely.
“They may also be a nuisance to other customers and ultimately if they’ve really had too much, they may put their health at risk and require the attention of the already busy emergency services, potentially putting others with more urgent needs at risk.”
Lancaster based FGH security have provided the training free of charge to all Lancaster Pub Watch members.
Pub Watch has as also made plans for if someone has had much too much to drink and are not properly able to look after themselves.
Venues will try to let them sober up with a glass of water or a hot drink and be taken home by one of their friends.
If they are not in a suitable location to do this, two venues – The Sugarhouse and Apothecary – have offered the use of a quiet room to be used as a “Safe Plac”e where they may be taken to recover before going home. Flip-flops and emergency blankets will also be avaiable, and access to these spaces is being co-ordinated between FGH, the police, Lancaster Street Pastors and the venue managers.
Mr Tomlinson added: “We hope people understand that it is our job and legal responsibility to let anyone know if it’s time for them to go home.
“It’s in their own best interest and they are welcome to come back again whenever they please.
“Christmas is a great time to be out and about in Lancaster, but we want to make sure people don’t put themselves at risk or spoil the night for others.”
Chief Inspector Ian Cooper from Lancashire Police, said: “Home Safe is an excellent initiative looking to protect vulnerable persons in the late night economy of Lancaster.
“The town has a vibrant nightlife which needs to be kept safe.
“The majority of people drink and act responsibly, Home Safe is a safety net for anyone separated from their friends whilst unfit through drink and making them vulnerable.
“It will also help alleviate demand on the emergency services, especially with the busy festive season upon us.”
Street pastors, who are trained volunteers from local churches, will be on patrol in the city from 10pm until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights.