Safety tips for the Party Season originating from American police officers, worth repeating on the basis that, hopefully you’ll never need them, but you’ll be glad to know them if you ever do.

o Avoid stairwells – they are favoured places for attacks – take the lift.

o Keep an old wallet, or purse in one place with a small amount of money in it and the rest of your money, cards etc somewhere else. If mugged, an increasingly common street crime, throw the wallet or purse one way and run very fast the other.

o The elbow is the strongest part of the body, so use it if attacked.

o Before getting into your car get into the habit of checking that no-one else is already there. Do not open your car if you are not happy about the look of the driver parked next to you. The passenger sides of large vans can also conceal attackers, crouching down underneath windows. If unhappy get someone to walk to your car with you – better paranoid than dead.

o As soon as you get into your car lock the doors and drive off. Do not make yourself a target by sitting checking receipts, making phone calls etc.

o Should you be unlucky enough to get someone in your car with a gun to your head telling you to drive off slowly, drive off very fast, swerving, and smash the car into something solid. Then quickly get out and run away, preferably in a zigzag pattern.

o Attackers of women, like serial killer Ted Bundy, often limp or carry a cane to get sympathy and then ask for help getting into their car, when they then attack. Be on your guard.

And from our own British Transport Police, advice when travelling by train at night:

o Travel in a busy carriage, and don’t be afraid to move if it empties.

o Travel in a carriage close to the driver or guard.

o On stations look for the CCTV cameras and stay within sight.

o Avoid short cuts and unlit alleys.