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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Extra police patrols in Carlisle for Black Eye Friday

Police say their patrols will aim to nip any drunken trouble in the bud as the Christmas party season hits fever pitch this weekend.

Additional patrols will pound the beat in Botchergate in Carlisle and around takeaways, taxi ranks and nightspots to make sure the festive spirit does not spill over into alcohol-fuelled violence.

Patrols have been stepped up in recent weeks and will be on alert for trouble tonight when thousands are expected to toast the season.

The Friday before Christmas is traditionally the most popular day for office parties. Many workplaces finish today and people are expected to celebrate by hitting the pubs. In the past this has led to violent flashpoints and the day was given the notorious nickname Black Eye Friday.

In recent years, however, police have been keen to move away from this image, instead referring to the day as Festive Friday.

Sergeant Richard Higgin said officers tried to intervene early if any trouble 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.

Sgt Higgin said: “We want people to go out and have a good time but to please be sensible. If you do something stupid it could have implications for the future.”

Sgt Higgin added that offenders could face Pubwatch bans, which could see them barred from bars and nightspots across the city.

Huge messages spelling out the perils of drunken bad behaviour, such as spending the night in the cells, will be projected onto a wall at Englishgate Plaza, off Botchergate.

Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Graham added: “It is only a minority who become involved in violent disorder and by providing extra officers we are able to monitor situations and intervene before they escalate.

“We will not tolerate people who put others at risk of harm by engaging in violent behaviour.”

Cumbria’s crime commissioner Richard Rhodes was expected to be out with officers in Carlisle today to see for himself the work officers do to combat drink-fuelled disorder.

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