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Christmas Safety Advice

We want you to stay safe this Christmas so you and your family can enjoy all the festivities.

Read our advice on how to stay safe during the festive season.

Safe Shopping

'Tis The Season to Stay Safe - Keep your handbag or wallet securely fastened

Police work with local retailers to ensure you can shop in a safe environment over the Christmas period.

To help us keep you safe you should:

  • Be patient and respectful of staff, other shoppers and their space
  • Be mindful of your personal belongings, keep them secure and only carry what you need
  • If you are carrying a handbag or wallet, make sure it is securely fastened and carry it in front of you or in a front pocket
  • Be vigilant and try not to be distracted in large crowds or busy spaces
  • If you are using an ATM, be aware of who is around you. Conceal your pin number as you input it and put your card and cash away safely before leaving the ATM.
  • If you notice anything suspicious about the ATM or you feel uncomfortable with any of the people standing nearby, do not use the ATM.
  • Do not leave purchases on display in your vehicle. Store all purchases out of sight and ensure your vehicle is locked. Park in a well-lit area or attended car park.
  • Report any suspicious activity to us on 101. You can also use our non-emergency reporting form.

Safe Shopping Online

'Tis The Season to Stay Safe - Check ads are authentic

Shopping online for your next bargain? Follow these top tips on how to shop safely online.

  • Make sure a website is authentic by carefully checking the address is spelled correctly. Ideally, type it in rather than clicking on a link in an email, text or post. It’s easy for scammers to set up fake websites that are very similar to the real thing.
  • Make sure payment pages are secure by checking that addresses begin with ‘https’ (‘s’ is for secure) and there’s a closed padlock in the address bar. The https and closed padlock mean that the page is secure, but the site could still be operated by fraudsters. 
  • Social media sites/apps and online forums are a popular place for advertising gifts, tickets and holidays. Many are genuine, but you need to be aware that others are fraudulent. Be extra vigilant about checking that such ads are authentic. 
  • However desperate you are to buy that late present or an item that’s in short supply, don’t pay for it by transferring money directly to people or companies you don’t know. If it’s a fraud, your bank may not be able to recover or refund your money. If you can, pay by credit card. The same goes for holidays, travel and tickets. 
  • Log out of the web page or app when payment is completed. Simply closing it may not log you out automatically. 
  • Don’t knowingly buy fake or counterfeit goods and do all you can to make sure brands you do buy are genuine. Fakes are of inferior quality, contravene copyright law and affect the livelihoods of workers who make the real thing. They can also be unsafe in use. 
  • ‘Low-cost’ or ‘free’ trials can cause problems if you don’t read the small print and look for independent reviews. Whether they’re for the latest handset or slimming pills, you could be signing up for large monthly direct debits which are very hard to cancel. 
  • Learn how to spot fraudulent emails, texts or DMs, or fraudulent offers on social media. At this time of year, emails and other messages featuring ‘special offers’ and ‘prizes’ are commonplace. Don’t click on links in emails, texts or posts that you’re not expecting, and don’t open unexpected email attachments. 
  • Text messages and emails purporting to be sent by home delivery firms are also on the increase, commonly informing you that there’s a charge for re-delivering a parcel, or a shipping fee to be paid. However busy you are or how much online shopping you do, keep a record of everything you buy and, if possible, which parcel delivery firm the retailer is using. 
  • Check that Christmas or New Year breaks you book online are genuine by carrying out thorough research. Look for independent reviews, and make sure travel agents / tour operators are genuine by checking for an ABTA/ ATOL number. It’s always best to pay by credit card for extra protection.
  • For more information on buying safely online visit

Safe Home

'Tis The Season to Stay Safe - Keep gifts out of view

We want everyone to feel safe and secure in their home.

Most burglaries are opportunistic, and there are simple precautions you can take to protect your home and belongings. To deter thieves, here are some tips on how to protect your home this Christmas:

  • Always ensure your windows and doors are locked
  • Keep gifts and expensive items out of view
  • Mark valuable items in your home with your postcode and house number
  • Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your home
  • Leave a front room or bedroom light on if it will be dark before you get home
  • Consider installing a home security system
  • Consider security lights. To a burglar a dark house is an empty house
  • Lock garages and sheds
  • Give your property an occupied look by using timer switches for lights when your home is empty
  • Always check who is at the door. Not sure? Don’t open the door
  • Always keep sheds and outbuilding locked and secure ladders
  • If you notice suspicious activity or vehicles in your local area, make a note of relevant information – including vehicle registrations – and contact police straight away on 101 or 999 in an emergency

Domestic Abuse

We know that incidents of domestic abuse can increase over the Christmas period. Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own home. If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, please contact police on the non-emergency 101 number or 999 in an emergency. You can also use our non-emergency reporting form.

If you need help but you are too afraid to speak you can use the silent solution:

  • Dial 999
  • Listen to the questions from the 999 operator
  • Respond by coughing or tapping the handset
  • If prompted press 55 and you will be put through to police
Domestic Abuse

Sexual Consent

Police want everyone to enjoy festive nights out safely, so we are asking you to get informed about sexual consent.

  • Sexual consent is giving permission without fear, force, fraud and having the capacity to do so
  • Everyone has the right to give, refuse or withdraw their consent for any sexual activity at any time
  • If there’s any doubt about whether someone is too drunk or incapacitated to give consent, assume they haven’t. If they haven’t consented and you still have sex with them, it’s rape
  • All sexual touching without consent is a crime
  • If you need us you can contact us by phoning 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Find out everything you need to know about consent at

Sexual Consent

Safe Socialising

Police work with the local hospitality sector and patrolling night life areas to create safe social spaces for everyone during the festive season.

You can help us to keep you safe by:

  • Planning your day or night out, including how to get home
  • Staying with your friend group and arranging a meeting place for the end of the night if you become separated
  • Drinking responsibly and knowing your limits
  • Being respectful of others
  • Telling your friends or family what your plans are and updating them if your plans change
  • Making sure you have enough money to pay for your journey home
  • Taking only the personal items you need out with you
  • Keeping valuables out of sight
  • If you feel very drunk or unwell after just a small amount of alcohol then ask a trusted friend or a member of staff/security for help and contact police immediately

'Ask For Angela'

If you are feeling unsafe on a night out then you can approach trained venue staff or security and ask them for 'Angela'. The 'Ask For Angela' safety initiative is being rolled out to bars, clubs and other licensed businesses across Northern Ireland. 

Ask For Angela - Are you on a date that isn't working out?
Find out more about 'Ask For Angela'

Partner Resources

Visit our Partner Resources section to find out how your business can partner with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to help keep people safe over the Christmas period.

Be wary if you notice anything suspicious
Partner Resources Section