UNIGHT Aberdeen in conjunction with Grampian Police is to contact around 50,000 people through Facebook in an effort to reduce violent offending in Aberdeen city centre.
The messages have been put out by the UNIGHT Aberdeen group, a coming together of of 21 socially responsible licensed venues, to publicise the fact that violent offenders now face a court-ordered ban from city centre clubs for any violent behaviour .
Messages will be posted to Facebook users warning them of the new initiative, which has already resulted in people being legally excluded from the city's nightspots.
The message reads:
"How would you feel to be UNABLE to enter your favourite Aberdeen pubs & clubs?
"A new exclusion order initiative launched by UNIGHT Aberdeen and Grampian Police means that if you commit an offence related to alcohol-related violence in Aberdeen city centre you may be legally banned from all 21 UNIGHT venues."
The warning continues: "If excluded, attempted re-entry results in your arrest. Banned from one, banned from all. Please think - is it worth it?"
Inspector John Soutar of Grampian Police's Licensing Team commented 'social networking sites are the fastest and most user friendly forms of media and with each club having it's own site with a number of 'friends' attached to the sites, some with as many as 12,000 'friends', it's a logical way of getting a positive message across which will hopefully let all clubbers know that there is a real deterrent to anti social and violent behaviour. All clubs want a trouble free night, the Police want a trouble free night, and I'm sure all clubbers do too. We just want people to know there will be social consequences as well as court consequences for those who choose to ignore the positive message we are trying to get across. Hopefully this will assist in continuing to make Aberdeen an even safer place to have a good night out in'
Shelly Wall of The Office and the Chairperson of the Unight Group said ' All of our venues try to do the right things to keep people safe, unfortunately there are a small minority who spoil it sometimes, we hope this message encourages everyone to keep cool and enjoy Aberdeen. For those that misbehave, you won't be welcome in our clubs and will end up legally banned thanks to the assistance we receive from the Procurator Fiscal Service and the Courts'
Chris Fowler, Manager at The Albyn, said: "The Facebook Flash message has the potential to reach a vast amount of people frequenting the late night economy. It's important to both inform them and warn them of the measures being taken by the Police and Unight Aberdeen working together who want to deter the errant few individuals, intent on creating trouble under the influence of Alcohol."
A spokesman from the Aberdeen City Alcohol & Drugs Partnership endorsed the message going out today from the Unight Aberdeen members, and said, "Violence and anti-social behaviour in licensed premises cannot be tolerated. It is all too often associated with alcohol consumption, with the consequences not only felt by the victim, but also by the police, ambulance and the Accident and Emergency staff at the hospital. I am delighted to see the city centre on-sales licensed trade taking positive action to help tackle the problem."