Police in Milton Keynes are trying to tackle the problem of late night binge drinkers with bottled water, flip flops and friendly advice.
Working in partnership with community group Safer MK, Thames Valley Police will be focussing on preventing the problems that occur through late night drinking, rather than following in the bootsteps of some forces by throwing heavy drinkers into so-called ‘drunk tanks’ as a method of tackling alcohol-fuelled disorder.
The Association of Chief Police Officers says people who need medical attention should be put in privately run ‘drunk tank’ cells to sober up and be made to pay for their care the next morning.
But after Milton Keynes Council implemented a late night levy on clubs and bars serving alcohol between 1am and 6am, from which around £200,000 will be generated to help with policing the night time economy, the city’s police commander says he is going for a much different approach.
Detective Superintendent Barry Halliday said: “Drunk tanks are a great initiative in dealing with the outcome of somebody’s state because they may well be vulnerable and may need protecting.
“What we are trying to do here is deal with the majority of people who want to come out and have a great time, but may find themselves vulnerable through overindulgence or being separated from their friends or family.
“So this is about trying to prevent people becoming a victim in the first place – it’s as simple as that.”
Volunteers from Safer MK joined police in handing out water, flip flops and advice to drinkers in Central Milton Keynes on Friday night, and the group’s presence is going to be increased further in the months ahead, but not in place of police officers.
The idea behind flip flops is to stop women tottering around on high-heeled shoes when drunk.
The idea also includes offering people guidance on things like how to prevent drinks being spiked and help to ensure drinkers get home safely at the end of their night out, preventing many of the problems that can occur when people have one too many.