Emergency Crews Pushed To 'Breaking Point' This Weekend

The emergency services have united to highlight the impact drinking to excess over the festive season has on them.

Workers are bracing themselves for more than 12,000 calls over the night of December 23 as people hit pubs, clubs and house parties to celebrate the beginning of the festive break.

Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to act responsibly over Christmas and Hogmanay, as drinking puts the authorities under immense pressure.

Pc Jonathan Church said: "The Christmas break is an extremely busy time for the police and the problem lies with drinking too much. People injure themselves and worse than that, if they are in a vulnerable state, they can become victims of crime.

"We have come across people passed out in doorways on our foot patrols, leaving their wallets and phones exposed, which in turn opens them up to being the victim of theft or robbery.''

The police deal with verbal and physical abuse when trying to keep intoxicated members of the public safe, though they stress this is not a problem that only exists over the festive period.

David McGown, fire service assistant chief officer for prevention and protection, said: "At this time of year, the public abuse our firefighters or those at our calls desk, which hinders them before they even reach the fire, which is completely unacceptable.

"At this time of year when people consume so much alcohol, there is less respect and authority towards emergency services and those wearing uniforms; but at the end of the day we are here to help people.''

The three services have recommended people stay with their friends and look after one another when out, charge mobile phones fully, pre-book a taxi home or make other travel arrangements, and not to cook if they are still drunk or under the influence of any drugs.

Paramedic June Maxwell said: "It may seem obvious, but dress sensibly. A lot of young girls go out wearing virtually nothing, but very high shoes, and at the end of the night they are wandering around with no shoes or jacket on and they are absolutely freezing.''

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