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Police in North Kent urging people to stay safe this Christmas
Police in North Kent are urging people to stay safe this Christmas and are using stark reminders of the consequences of drink-driving.
Two cars that have previously been involved in collisions have been parked on roundabouts to warn people about the dangers of driving irresponsibly.
One is on the roundabout at the junction of Springhead Road and Thames Way in Northfleet and the other is on one of the roundabouts on the way out of Bluewater. (A296/B255/Roman Road roundabout).
Both cars are accompanied by a banner warning people of the dangers of drinking and driving.
The cars accompany the campaign to get drink-drivers through the Virtual Court based at North Kent Police Station. The system allows drink-drivers to be banned on the same day, rather than bailed to appear in court, which often allows them to continue to drive during the time in-between.
16 people have been arrested and charged with drink-driving since the scheme was started on 1 December.
Some have already been disqualified from driving and others have been bailed to appear before magistrates in January.
The two North Kent initiatives are running alongside countywide information being given to people from Kent Police to help keep safe and avoid becoming a victim of crime this winter.
Lock all doors and windows overnight and when you are away
If you have UPVC doors, ensure they are double locked
Don't leave keys, handbags or Christmas presents visible through a window
Consider fitting extra security measures such as spy holes, door chains, door locks and intruder alarms
Consider installing external security lights (but make sure the lights don't affect your neighbours and that alarms turn off after 20 minutes)
Avoid leaving side gates open and make sure ladders and garden equipment that could be used to force entry are not left lying around.
Keep garages and sheds locked (and alarmed if possible)
Store bins carefully so that they cannot be used as a climbing aid
Never hide spare house keys outside or in a shed
Security mark and photograph valuable property, paying special attention to any distinguishing marks such as initials or crests
Record serial numbers and mobile phone IMEI numbers
Register the serial numbers of your valuables on www.immobilise.com (the UK national property database)
Vehicle security advice:
Ensure your car is locked and windows are not left open
Use an alarm, immobiliser or steering lock if possible
Remove all valuables, including satellite navigation systems, when leaving your vehicle, even if you will only be away for a few minutes
Clean the suction marks from the windscreen if you have a portable satellite navigation device
Don't leave valuables or money on display; even small change can look tempting to thieves
Don't leave car keys near windows and doors when you are at home
Park your vehicle in a garage, a secure car park or in well-lit areas.
Staying safe at night socialising:
If you're going out in the evening, plan how you intend to get home beforehand - book a taxi or have a designated driver in your group
If you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs you could not only ruin your own future, but that of others - think before you drink
Alcohol makes you vulnerable and more likely to take risks - stay in control, avoid confrontational situations and walk away if you need to
Always keep an eye on your drink - don't leave it unattended
If you are walking home from a night out, do so in groups and stay in busy, well-lit areas
Keep valuables in a bag or zipped away to the front of your body and use a purse chain if possible
Don't leave your belongings unattended
Another strand of the countywide winter Stay Safe campaign is addressing domestic violence amongst 18 – 22 year-olds, the most vulnerable age group.
Kent Police urge people to report domestic abuse if they are a victim, or to seek help if they are the offender.
In an emergency or if your life is in danger, please call 999.
The National Domestic Violence helpline is 0808 2000247. The Male Advice Line, specifically for men affected by domestic abuse, is 0808 801 0327. Respect, which gives advice and help to offenders, as well as families and professionals, is 0845 122 8609. The Karma Nirvana helpline number, for victims of honour violence and forced marriage, is 0800 5 999 247.