Monday, 26 September 2011

Students asked to ‘tag the tiger’ to support responsible drinking

Lancaster students are being urged to ‘tag the tiger’ as part of a joint project to encourage responsible drinking.

Easy Tiger is a campaign run jointly by Lancaster police and the city’s universities and colleges, in conjunction with various partners, to encourage students to be sensible about the way in which they consume alcohol.

Officers and staff speak to students about the importance of pacing their alcohol intake, keeping their drinks with them at all times, considering how their personal safety may be affected while they are intoxicated and the importance of acting respectfully towards other residents.

This year’s Easy Tiger message is ‘Get out and stay out’ and is aimed at getting students to pace their drinking across the night so they are able to enjoy the whole evening, while reducing the risk of them coming to any harm.

Jan Brown, crime prevention officer for Lancaster, said: “Students will often try to save money by staying at home and ‘pre-loading’ with alcohol before they go out –often getting involved in drinking games. While we most certainly want students to be having fun, we would also like them to be responsible in the way they consume their alcohol.”

A life-sized Easy Tiger mascot will be out on patrol with officers during the main freshers’ events. Students can have their photo taken with the tiger, and if they then upload and tag themselves on the ‘Tag the Tiger’ Facebook page they can get free entry into Lancaster’s Sugarhouse nightclub, as well as receiving other benefits from members of the city’s PubWatch scheme.

“The officers and other partners who are accompanying the Easy Tiger will be engaging with those having their photos taken," added Jan, "and will be passing on crime prevention and safety messages.

“Whilst making the most of their night out, it is important that students remember that drinking lowers inhibitions and, aside from the obvious health risks, it makes you more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime.

“Likewise, it can make you act differently and your behaviour may come at a cost – police officers take a zero tolerance attitude to drunken criminal behaviour.

"Penalty notices for disorder cost £80 - a fairly hefty fine for a student pocket – and a criminal record is not the kind of result you want to leave university with.”

A spokesperson for Lancaster University Students Union said: “During Freshers’ Week, Easy Tiger wants to get the message across to students not to let alcohol ruin the beginning of their university experience. The start of university is a time for having fun and making new friends, some of whom will last a lifetime; not for feeling sick, being a burden on others, and apologising for drunken behaviour.”

Other activities to encourage responsible drinking will include a ‘mocktail’ bar at the Lancaster University’s freshers fair and Street Pastors will be handing out bottles of water to those who are on a night out.

The initiative will continue throughout the academic year, with a main focus being on the Tag the Tiger campaign and the Easy Tiger mascot featuring in a variety of social events where alcohol usage is prominent.

• Students can visit to upload their photos and to get more information about the campaign.

Easy Tiger is a joint initiative between LUSU, University of Cumbria Students’ Union, Lancaster and Morecambe College Students’ Union, Lancashire Police, Lancashire Pub Watch and Lancashire Drugs and Alcohol Action Team.

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