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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Cumbria Police tweet thanks for New Year peace

POLICE believe up to 7,000 people were out in Carlisle city centre at the peak of the New Year’s Eve festivities, but say the night passed without any serious trouble.

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Pleased: Sergeant Richard Higgin says revellers generally heeded police warnings and the atmosphere on the streets was good

Officers add that most of the arrests on the potential flashpoint days of December 31 and the notorious Black Eye Friday were for lower level disorder and believe operations to snuff out trouble paid off.

Sergeant Richard Higgin, who works the city centre beat, also paid tribute to the friendliness of those out to celebrate the end of the year, saying the atmosphere played its part.

In north Cumbria there were 28 alcohol-related arrests on Friday December 21 – the day known locally as Black Eye Friday – and 24 arrests on New Year’s Eve.

These were in a patch also covering towns such as Brampton and Penrith but police believe about two-thirds would have been in Carlisle city centre.

The figures are roughly the same as last year’s and the force reported being kept busy. However, officers said the number of assaults was down.

Additional patrols pounded the beat in Botchergate in Carlisle and around takeaways, taxi ranks and nightspots. Public warnings were also given to nip in the bud any drunken trouble.

Sgt Higgin told The Cumberland News: “People who have been out and about have heeded police warnings, have generally behaved responsibly and had a good time.

“On New Year’s Eve the atmosphere was extremely good and friendly. I was out working on New Year’s Eve and we were constantly getting people wishing us a happy New Year.

“We’re very pleased with how it went.”

He added that city pubs seemed quiet until about midnight but became busy afterwards. The force’s own estimations, based on factors including the length of taxi rank queues, led officers to believe there were about 6,000 to 7,000 people out at the peak.

Police tactics to cut trouble include trying to intervene early if any disturbance was brewing.

If people are causing problems, dispersal notices can order them to leave an area for a certain amount of time. If they return within that time they can be arrested.

Warnings were also given that offenders could face Pubwatch bans, which could see them barred from pubs and nightspots across the city.

Black Eye Friday is traditionally the day when many work places finish for Christmas, with people celebrating by packing the pubs.

This has in the past led to violent outbursts, prompting its nickname.

Across the whole of Cumbria, police were called out 250 times in six hours as they dealt with the fallout from New Year.

In most cases, say officers, people were arrested for drink-related offences, including assaults, domestic disputes and disorder.

The night’s work prompted some officers or police units to take to social media site Twitter to give their own light-hearted take on events.

Superintendent Andy Towler wrote: “Thx to 99.9999% of Cumbrians for having a peaceful New Year’s Eve. For those that did not yes it’s really true: our cells have no wifi.”

Officers using the Cumbria Roads Police account posted: “Morning all... Happy New Year! In since 6am, nightshift all shattered, cells all full, lots of clearing up to do... imagine life without alcohol.”

And those using the Cumbria Police Dogs account tweeted: “The booze a came a flowing. The bells they came a tolling. The cuffs they came a showing. And a custody we’re going.”

NGriffiths@cngroup.co.uk

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