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World Cup kicks off and we want to make sure everyone enjoys it responsibly

With the World Cup having kicked off today, we’re encouraging people to drink responsibly while enjoying the football. We want everyone to have fun throughout the tournament but unfortunately it can lead to drink-related violence, anti-social behaviour.

We’re raising awareness of these issues to stress the importance of drinking responsibly, the risks of not doing so, and also to encourage people to report if they are the victim of domestic abuse or other offences.

As part of our drink driving campaign Operation Tonic, we’re reminding those watching evening matches to make sure they don’t drive the next morning if they have been drinking heavily the night before as they may still be over the limit. We will be running additional high visibility and covert patrols aimed at targeting drink and drug drivers throughout the tournament.

Flyers will be left on vehicles parked near pubs, bars and other drinking hotspots to warn drivers that Op Tonic patrols are in action nearby and remind them of the dangers of drink-driving, even the morning after. We will be sharing important messages on social media to encourage reporting and to try to reduce the number of offences committed during this year’s tournament.

People wishing to report a drink drive incident can text 07400 279101 with the word 'drunk' and details of the car, location and driver and we will review every message. We received over 340 tip offs during our winter Op Tonic campaign which shows the public’s lack of tolerance for this behaviour. We responded to three quarters (77%) of intel and all other information received was fed into future investigations and intelligence for ongoing road safety management.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Drink and drug driving can have devastating consequences.  Many people will be having fun over the summer and enjoying the World Cup, hosting gatherings and socialising with friends and family.  Sadly, some people under the influence of alcohol or drugs will then make the dangerous decision to drive on our roads.

“Drink and drug driving impairs your judgement and affects your reaction time, not only putting yourself at risk but also other innocent road users.  Not only is it a crime, but it is also socially and morally unacceptable.  I fully support the police in their efforts to keep the roads across Avon and Somerset safe, not only this summer but all year round.”

Chief Inspector John Holt said: “The majority of offences that increase during the World Cup are drink-related, such as a disagreement between two pub-goers that escalates into a fight or criminal damage incidents on the way home.

“We want people to go out and enjoy the matches during the World Cup but our advice is to make sure you do so responsibly. You don’t want to find yourself being fined, being arrested or risking a criminal conviction after a night out that got out of hand.

“You may also be risking a Football Banning Order if you are arrested for an offence at a match or when watching a match, which can prevent you attending future football matches including potentially the next World Cup in Qatar, and can restrict your travel at home and abroad.

“We know the majority of football fans who go out to watch the match act responsibly and our message is to make sure you aren’t one of the small minority who end up in our cells at the end of the evening.

“If we suspect an offence has been committed, including offences like domestic abuse or drink driving, we will arrest and we will look to prosecute wherever appropriate.

“And if you are a victim of domestic abuse then please do report it, we will investigate and we can help you get the support and advice you need. We will also have extra specialist staff during and after matches to respond to calls.

“Also, while there is no intelligence to indicate an increased threat to World Cup screenings or any other summer events, sadly we have seen that these big public events and crowded spaces can be targeted by those who want to cause harm.

“We want to reassure the public that the police, partners and the event organisers are doing all we can to keep them safe and secure. Some of that protection can be seen with visible security guards and local officers,  and a significant amount of the security measures will be less obvious and are deployed for extra protection. Fans can help us by watching by immediately reporting any suspicious behaviour and activity.”

To report an offence, such as domestic abuse or if you know about someone currently driving under the influence of drink or drugs, call 999. For general reporting or enquiries call our non-emergency number 101 or text 07400 279101 with the word 'drunk' to report a drink drive incident. For more information about domestic abuse go to thisisnotanexcuse.org.

Posted on Thursday 14th June 2018
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