The highly successful initiative that keeps festive revellers safe on the streets of Falkirk will be operating again this weekend.
Since the Safe Zone, or Safe Base, began back in 2009 it has provided a helping hand to people who find themselves a little worse for wear and vulnerable to the elements over Christmas and New Year.
Run by volunteers and representatives of organisations like Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service, British Red Cross, St Andrews First Aid, Falkirk BID, Sign Post Recovery, Falkirk Council’s Community Safety Team and Community Development Service and Falkirk Street Pastors, the Safe Base has actually helped reduce crime and is viewed as a boost to the night-time economy.
Councillor Allyson Black, who also works as a street pastor, will once again be joining the Safe Base volunteers on night patrols, including a shift on Hogmanay.
She said: “The Safe Base continues to reduce pressure on emergency services and I think it’s helped create a happier atmosphere in the streets at this time of year.
“I spoke to police at our scrutiny meeting and they said incidents of violence in the town centre have reduced since the Safe Base began operating.
“Safer streets mean more visitors to the town and people know there is someone who will look out for them if something does go wrong.”
Based in Park Street, the Safe Zone provides first aid patrols, street pastoring and a safe, warm area for people until transport home can be arranged.
Earlier this year it was announced the Safe Zone had been such a success it could be rolled out at busy weekend periods throughout the year, not just over the festive season, and a trial expansion of the service took place in May.