Safer Merton – a partnership made up of Merton Council, the police, the fire brigade and other agencies – will be offering up some sweet inducements to persuade revellers to be sociable, sensible and safe this Christmas.
Door staff at some of Wimbledon’s clubs and pubs along with Safer Merton teams, will be handing out lollipops to festive party-goers as they leave venues. Merton’s safer transport team will be giving commuters credit-card sized information leaflets containing the Cab-Wise number as they leave Wimbledon train station to encourage revellers to get home safely.
The Safer Merton partnership, which is working with Pub Watch and Wimbledon night spots, successfully bid for £11,000 from the Home Office to help pay for the project.
But the scheme is not just for Christmas. The partnership will be running the project throughout the year to make sure Wimbledon continues to be a safe place for residents wanting enjoy a night out, especially at times when traditionally people like to go out for a drink such as during bank holidays and after sporting events.
Chief Inspector Mark Payne said: “We are extremely pleased to have been given this money which will help us make sure everyone coming to Wimbledon over Christmas, and in the future, for a night out will have a sociable but also a sensible and safe night out.
“Unfortunately, some people do occasionally have too much to drink, and end up ruining the night for others. Lollipops have proved to be an excellent way of calming people down and reducing violence breaking out at closing time.”
Merton Council’s cabinet member for community safety and engagement Councillor Tariq Ahmad said: “It is wonderful news the Safer Merton partnership has managed to secure this funding. We want to make sure people enjoy themselves when they come to Wimbledon for a night out, but we also need to remind them to be sensible and to take the necessary actions to make sure they and others are safe.
“We are committed to putting our residents safety first and by giving out the Cab-Wise phone number we will encourage people to think about planning their journeys home and which taxi company to use so they can get home safely.”