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St John joins Six Nations campaign

ST JOHN volunteers are joining agencies across Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil to support a campaign that urges people to enjoy a night out without drinking too much.

Along with South Wales Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, local authority CCTV staff and environment health officers, and Cwm Taf Health Board, our members have scrummed down and agreed tactics to face the night-time economy during the Six Nations.

The formidable pack is also throwing its full weight behind the “Know the score – drink less, enjoy more” campaign, which is being launched on Wednesday, February 4 by Chief Constable Peter Vaughan and South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael.

The campaign – which is backed by the Welsh Rugby Union – will highlight the consequences for individuals of being turned away or banned from licensed premises, using radio, press and social media to get the message across.

It will support bar staff and licensed premises so they are confident enough to act professionally and refuse to break the law by serving people who are already drunk.

Bar staff across the valleys will sport T-shirts emblazoned with the eye-catching “Too drink to drunk” message.

In conjunction with the awareness campaign, a range of initiatives will take place across Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil.

In Pontypridd, and in other towns, where thousands of people will spill out from the Cardiff trains into the town centre late at night, agencies will team up to prevent and detect alcohol-related crimes.

In towns, such as Pontypridd, the adopted Pubwatch scheme will continue to operate a zero-tolerance approach. Eleven people were banned from licensed premises in Pontypridd town after being caught causing trouble over Christmas.

Other measures implemented across the region include:

  • Proactive licensing visits to ensure adequate security and safety of premises.
  • Plastic drinks containers will be used by licenses premises
  • Pre match-day visits by police officers to known offenders likely to offend.
  • Undercover licensing visits.
  • To secure convictions, officers will wear headcams to gather evidence real-time when responding to incidents.
  • Extra resources to serve problem areas such as domestic violence.
  • Officers will be based in A&E departments to ensure reports of crimes and oversee the safety of medical staff.
  • St John Cymru-Wales volunteers to deal with minor street incidents to free-up police officers
  • Local authority CCTV teams, including a mobile CCTV van, will focus on hotspot areas as a deterrent to offenders, and be used to identify suspects and record evidence.

Chief Superintendent Sally Burke, said: “This tournament will be my first as a Chief Superintendent of the region, but as somebody who lives in the area, I know the towns and villages across the region provide a great atmosphere for this tournament which is no surprise with such as close affiliation the area has with rugby.

“However, there always tends to be a small minority who use the matches as an excuse to drink to excess.

“We will be doing everything we can to prevent trouble and ensure people’s safety. Those causing trouble can expect to be dealt with robustly.

“We need to change the perception that it’s okay or funny to be rolling around drunk. People who get in that state are a risk to themselves, and others.

“We are doing what we can to empower bar staff to refuse alcohol to drunk people, and people should be reminded that they could be fined up to £1,000 for knowingly buying alcohol for somebody who is drunk.”