Stay safe in the night time economy
Lewisham has a number of vibrant places to visit on a night out. Taking the time to consider your personal safety can make a huge difference and taking a few simple precautions can help to keep you and others safe.
Ask For Angela - this code-phrase will indicate to staff that you require help with their situation and a trained member of staff will then look to support and assist.
FRANK - telephone 0300 1236600 (free support line open 24/7) - honest help and information about drugs.
Pier Road Project - specialist community alcohol and drug support for adults living in Bexley.
Victim Support - telephone 0808 1689111 (24/7 free support line) Need help after a crime? Service is independent, free and confidential.
Crimestoppers - telephone 0800 555 111. Give crime information anonymously.
The Havens - specialist centres in London for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
- make sure your phone is charged before you go out and you are able to make calls
- keep a small amount of money in your clothing, just in case you lose your purse or wallet and need to contact someone or get yourself home
- stay with your friends: do not allow anyone to leave alone, or with someone they don’t know or trust
- never leave your drink unattended. It takes a matter of seconds for someone to tamper with it and put you in danger
- avoid walking alone at night: keep to well-lit roads and make sure someone knows where you are at all times
- avoid shortcuts that go through dark isolated areas
- if you are carrying a bag, try to hold it across your chest with your hand over the fastening
- let people know where you are going and your expected return home
- share your location with trusted people
- you may consider downloading a personal safety app
- don’t carry any valuables on your person that you do not need, for example credit cards of important documents. Be discreet with your belongings - keep any valuables you are carrying out of sight as much as possible
- be aware of your surroundings: talking on a mobile phone or using ear phones can distract you from what is going on around you and also alerts thieves that you have something to steal
- have a glass of water with every drink you have - staying hydrated can help to reduce the effect of alcohol on your body
- order your drinks with ice - as the ice melts, the drink is diluted
- taking your time with a drink pays off. Your body absorbs alcohol quicker than you metabolize it
- eating slows down the absorption of alcohol so you have more time to metabolise what you’re drinking. Fats and carbs will line the stomach and replace sugars that the body needs for fuel.
For more information, visit NHS Alcohol support.
What does spiking mean?
To spike a drink means to put alcohol or drugs into someone's drink without their knowledge or permission. The aim may be to incapacitate someone enough to rob or assault them.
There is also some concern about the possibility that people are being ‘spiked’ by needles/syringes containing drugs. Although this is much less likely than drink spiking, many of the same tips for staying safe can protect you here too. Spiking is a criminal offence and venues should take steps to ensure they are safe places to be, but you still need to protect yourself, particularly if you feel unsafe.
How to avoid drink spiking
- always buy your own drink and watch it being poured
- don't accept drinks from strangers
- never leave your drink unattended while you dance or go to the toilet
- don't drink or taste anyone else's drink
- throw your drink away if you think it tastes or looks odd
- report any concerns to the venue immediately
What if you think you have been spiked (by drink or needle)?
- if you start to feel strange, sick or drunk when you know that you couldn’t be drunk, seek help from a trusted friend or the venue management
- if you think you have been spiked, get a close friend to get you out of the place as soon as possible and take you home or to a hospital (if seriously unwell). Or ring a friend, relative or partner and ask them to come and pick you up
- if you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened you can ask for help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase indicates to staff that you need help and a trained member of staff will then support and assist you
- make sure you can trust the person you ask for help. Don’t go anywhere with a stranger or acquaintance
- once you are safely home ask someone to stay with you until the effects of the drug have worn off, which could be several hours
- don’t hesitate to call for medical help if you need it
- tell the police what happened
- if you have been sexually assaulted, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre for support.
- if you find yourself needing to get a taxi, make sure you pre-book a private hire car through a licensed minicab operator you’ve used before and trust. Always check that the minicab you ordered is the one you get into
- if you have any problems with the driver, report it to the police and try and take down the licence ID details or take a photo
- if you prefer to take public transport, make sure you check the times of your last train or bus home
- if you can, walk to the relevant station or bus stop with a friend
- share your location with trusted people.
Drink and drug driving
- there is no excuse for drink or drug driving
- you don’t have to be drunk to be a drink driver
- a second drink can double your chance of being involved in a fatal collision
- beware the morning after
- time is the only way to ensure you aren’t driving whilst under the influence
- plan how to get home without driving
- don’t offer alcohol to someone you know is planning to drive
- don’t accept a lift from a drink or drug driver
- don’t let someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs get behind the wheel.