THEY’RE not normally known for showing their tender side.

In fact, many of those who come to the attention of police when they’ve been out partying with friends can expect a stern response.

But as one of the busiest party weekends of the year gets under way, officers will not only be upholding the law of the land in Southampton but also spreading a little love among revellers.

People celebrating in Southampton can guarantee they will be heading home with an extra kiss tonight and tomorrow as a new bid to drive down crime gets under way this Christmas.

But behind the puckered lips of police who will be telling partygoers “you’ve been kissed” there is a serious message aimed at keeping them safe.

Keep It Safe Southampton (Kiss) is the name of the new campaign, in conjunction with the Safe City Partnership, which will see teams of officers on the streets and in pubs and clubs.

Their aim is simple – to reduce the chances of revellers becoming victims of crime by delivering a few simple safety tips on specially printed cards.

As well as telling people to keep valuables like mobile phones and purses and wallets safe, they’ll be advising them to only accept drinks from people they know – and not leave them unattended.

They’ll also be reminding people to ensure they have enough money for their taxi fare home and warning them to only use reputable firms at a rank or pre-book through a local firm.

In a further safety message, officers will be reminding those under the influence to drink sensibly and heed safe sex advice, telling people “drunk does not mean yes”.

Chief Inspector Craig Dibdin, from Southampton police, said the Kiss campaign was launched in response to an increase in the number of thefts from people at nightspots in the city, in particular two weekends ago when 15 mobile phones were stolen from people in one night.

He said: “There was a noticeable spike in thefts from pockets and purses in pubs and clubs and as a result we are taking preventative action.

“We want people to go out and have a good and safe night but at the same time we want to remind them of some steps they can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime.

We’ll be telling people to make sure they Kiss (keep it safe southampton) this Christmas.”

The Kiss campaign is part of a wider clampdown across the city as well as in the New Forest and Eastleigh where targeted operations are under way to slash burglary and car crime.

ICE bus returns to help partygoers

IT’S a bus service with a difference where you won’t travel anywhere except back to good health.

Southampton’s ICE Bus (In Case of Emergency) will be out in force this weekend and the next ensuring revellers who indulge in a few drinks too many can get help.

The service, provided by Southampton City Council and the ambulance service, provides emergency medical services for people with drink-related injuries and illnesses as well as helping vulnerable people in the city centre late at night.

Since its launch in 2009 it has dealt with 1,180 people.

But with large volumes of partygoers expected in the city in the run up to Christmas and New Year the ICE Bus will be available on extra dates, running between 10pm and 4am by the
Cenotaph between East Park and Watts Park.