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Latest police plan to tackle binge-drinking: Give women flip-flops!!


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Latest police plan to tackle binge-drinking: Give women flip-flops to help them walk home safely


By Luke Salkeld

Last updated at 3:09 PM on 27th November 2008



Drunk women are to be issued with free flip-flops by police to stop them falling over in high-heeled shoes, it emerged today.

Officers will distribute the footwear outside nightclubs as part of a £30,000 publicly-funded scheme to prevent 'alcohol related harm'.

The move has been prompted by fears that women wearing stilettos or other similar footwear could twist or sprain an ankle on the way home after a night out.


article-1089919-029E227C000005DC-961_468x375.jpg Superintendent Chris Singer poses with two pairs of flip-flops. As part of a £30,000 health and safety scheme, flip-flops are to be given free to drunk women to prevent injuries on their walk home

Officials also claim female revellers are at risk of cutting the soles of their feet by walking home barefoot.

The flat-soled shoes will be given to anyone whose own footwear is 'uncomfortable, inappropriate or soiled' and will be paid for using a £30,000 Home Office grant.

The scheme is set to begin next month in the centre of Torquay, Devon, a popular destination for hen and stag parties.

According to local authorities, women on a night out are in danger of hurting themselves by attempting to walk home in high heels or stilettos.

Safer Communities Torbay - a partnership between police, Torbay Council and the local education authority - hope the flip-flops will reduce the number of injuries.

Officers will carry bags of the blue, unisex flip-flops on their rounds and will hand them to anyone who looks a little unsteady on their feet.

The rubber shoes, which carry printed messages about safe drinking and alcohol limits, will also be available free-of-charge from the council's 'Safe Bus' on the harbourside.

They force has already launched schemes to hand out condoms and sexual health advice to revellers, and ordered drunken men who urinate in the street to mop up their own mess.



article-1089919-013739CF000004B0-761_468x622.jpg While these women are just having a good time, many women are so drunk after a night out that they try to walk home in high heels leading to injuries. Distributing free flip-flops is aimed to prevent this happening. (File photo)

Inspector Adrian Leisk, from Safer Communities Torbay, said: 'Sometimes people get drunk and you see them carrying footwear which is inappropriate.

'The emphasis is on providing replacement footwear for people to get home in, should they find their footwear uncomfortable, inappropriate or soiled.


'We have consulted with people who work on our night-time economy areas and this is just one of a number of measures designed to keep people safe.'


But the initiative has attracted criticism from campaigners who branded it a waste of money and police time.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'This is an idiotic waste of money.

'People don't pay their taxes for drunk women to get free flip-flops. They want the police to fight crime.The police aren't there to be an emergency supply of flat shoes.'


But the idea was welcomed by residents and business owners, and local revellers seemed equally pleased at the prospect of free flops.

Danielle Bolton, 19, said: 'My heels hurt me at the end of the night so I tend to take them off. It's a hell of a lot easier to walk with flip-flops than high heels.'

Leanne Thomas, 21, added: 'I go out clubbing at the harbourside most weekends and I usually walk home barefooted because my heels hurt. I think it's a great idea.'


The £30,000 budget will also cover the cost of free condoms, rape alarms and personal safety information which will also be available on the Safe Bus.

Superintendent Chris Singer, Torbay Police Commander, said: 'Linking in with our partners, this funding represents a significant opportunity to make a real difference in relation to alcohol related harm and disorder.

'We're hopeful that this new initiative will help protect dozens of women who are vulnerable to injury after a night out with friends.'

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