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Fuse is lit on policing operation to keep party-goers safe during festive season

29/11/2013

Fuse is lit on policing operation to keep party-goers safe during festive season

The Metropolitan Police in south London is today, Friday 29 November, launching a major operation aimed at keeping people safe and cutting crime during the Christmas party season.

Operation Fuse begins across the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark this evening and will see police cracking down on individuals committing crime or antisocial behaviour on a night out, as well as targeting any licensed premises that is contributing to or causing problems.

Police are aiming to prevent any increase in violent crime, theft or antisocial behaviour linked with people going for a night out. Officers are keen to make sure that members of the public are doing what they can to keep themselves safe and that bars, clubs and pubs are also playing their part in keeping customers safe throughout the festive period.

Teams of officers will be out in the early parts of Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings until the end of December, handing out crime prevention tips to party-goers on their way out to the various pubs and bars across south London. Police will be encouraging people to register their phones on the Immobilise database to help protect them from thieves and mobile police stations will be deployed to certain town centres for people to register there and then.

Police will then be on patrol in busy nightspots throughout the evening and into the early hours to keep revellers safe as they make their homeward journeys. Officers will be keeping an eye out for any thieves operating and clamping down on individuals that have had too much to drink and are causing a nuisance or getting involved in disorder or violent crime. Those involved in antisocial or criminal behaviour can expect to be arrested, given a fine or could be put before the courts.

Officers will also be visiting licensed premises over the coming weeks to check that the venues are compliant with the conditions of their licenses. The unannounced, incognito visits to premises are aimed at ensuring that licensed venues are taking their responsibilities to prevent crime and disorder seriously. Any venues that don’t could see stricter licensing conditions being imposed, or even see the venue closed if it is causing significant amounts of crime and disorder.

South Area Commander Simon Letchford said:

“There are three key elements to Operation Fuse: education, engagement and enforcement.

“We’re hoping to educate party-goers on how they can best keep themselves and their possessions safe on a night out.

“Our licensing units are also engaging with venues across south London to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to and giving them advice and tips on how to make their venues even safer for their customers.

“The enforcement side will involve officers out on the streets dealing with people who are causing ASB or committing offences. Whilst we want people to go out and enjoy themselves over the next few weeks, anyone who takes it too far can expect to be dealt with appropriately.”

In addition, police Licensing Units across the area will be checking the circumstances of individuals arrested during Operation Fuse, looking specifically at which venues they visited. Licensing officers will be checking that the venues have adhered to licensing conditions and will be taking appropriate action against any venues found to be contributing to the cause of crime or disorder.

Commander Letchford said:

“Operation Fuse is about keeping people safe and we want people to be able to have a safe and enjoyable night out in south London. Whilst we will be patrolling busy areas, the pubs, bars and clubs also have a responsibility to keep their customers and the public safe and to prevent crime and disorder.

“Whilst the vast majority of venues do take these responsibilities seriously, those that don’t can expect a visit from our Licensing Units, which could see stricter conditions imposed or in the worst cases see the venue closed down.”

Top tips to celebrate safely this festive season are:

* Think ahead and plan your journey, especially your return home.

* Check the TfL website http://www.tfl.gov.uk to plan your route home on public transport or use the CABWISE service to book at licensed taxi home in advance. Simply text HOME to 60835 or download the CABWISE app on your smartphone.

* Try to avoid walking alone at night. Keep to well-lit main roads where possible and avoid deserted areas. Don’t take short cuts down alleyways, across waste ground, or through wooded areas, if possible.

* Always keep your bags zipped or locked, and valuables out of sight. Remember that pickpockets operate in crowded places such as music venues, bars, clubs, tube and train stations.

* Be aware of strangers being overly friendly in bars, clubs and large gatherings – often referred to as ‘hugger muggings’.

* Don’t accept drinks from anyone you don’t know or trust completely and never share your drinks with strangers.

* Make sure you keep your home locked up and secure when you go out. Keep windows and doors locked and think about leaving a light on a timer switch whilst you’re out so that your homecoming is a happy one.

For more crime prevention advice, visit http://www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention

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