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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Urban Blue Bus in Maidstone town centre offers drunks chance to volunteer and avoid prosecution in Kent Police scheme

17 March 2014
by Claire McWethy

People found drunk in Maidstone will be offered the chance to volunteer with the Urban Blue Bus instead of facing prosecution.

The Kent Police initiative aims to help people understand the impact drunken behaviour has and show them first-hand the vulnerable state drunk people can find themselves in.

Officers have been taking details of people found to be drunk and incapable before contacting them with the offer of working a shift with the volunteers.

Drunks are being offered the chance to volunteer on the Urban Blue bus. File picture

Drunks are being offered the chance to volunteer on the Urban Blue bus. File picture

The Urban Blue Bus supports vulnerable party-goers who might have had too much to drink or have been injured while out in the town centre.

In the last year, the volunteers have dealt with 416 alcohol-related issues.

It costs approximately £20,000 a year to run the charity.

Two women, aged 25 and 21, who returned to see the volunteers in action said it was eye-opening to see how many people needed help.

Following a five-week trial, the scheme is now being made permanent.

The Urban Blue Bus in Maidstone

The Urban Blue Bus in Maidstone

Insp Jody Gagan-Cook said: "The Urban Blue Bus is a fantastic facility and we have invited people to come and see the amount of work that is put in by both volunteers and police to keep them safe instead of simply prosecuting them."

District Commander Ch Insp Simon Wilson said: "People who allow themselves to get extremely drunk in the town centre leave themselves vulnerable, as they are unable to make informed decisions, and can become complacent around looking after their personal safety and valuable property such as mobile phones or purses.

"This initiative is about trying to change attitudes and behaviours in the long term and reduce associated crime. We are not afraid to prosecute people for alcohol related offences in the town, but if we can stop the offences occurring in the first instance, through education then that benefits everyone."

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