A welfare hub will be in place in Carlisle today (December 20) as emergency services aim to stop trouble spoiling a busy night on the Christmas social calendar.
The main aim of the hub – outside Carlisle railway station – is to reduce demand on police, the North West Ambulance Service and the NHS in general by early intervention.
Working with partners, officers will be out in busy parts of the city to deter any disorder and to prevent incidents escalating before they become more serious.
The aim is to provide a co-ordinated approach to stop drink-fuelled disorder on what is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year.
Festive Friday is the day when many people finish work for a Christmas break, with office and factory parties and gatherings heading for pubs and clubs in the city centre.
Sergeant Chris Blain said: “We will be working with colleagues from British Transport Police, St John’s Ambulance and the North West Ambulance Service, supported by the Carlisle Pubwatch scheme, Carlisle Street Pastors and taxi marshals.
“The main aim of the hub is to reduce demand on police and the NHS in general by early intervention.
“St John’s Ambulance staff will be able to assist with minor injuries and monitor patients where necessary.
“This will allow time to contact relatives to seek assistance in transporting them out of the city safely.
“Any serious injuries will be checked by suitably qualified medical staff before a decision is made whether to request an ambulance.
“This again will reduce the expected heavy burden on the ambulance service and reduce the need for an officer to remain with a patient until an ambulance arrives.”
He added: “The taxi marshals will be on duty at the Citadel and Warwick Road ranks.
“In previous years these trained staff have reduced violent crime by ensuring people queuing at the ranks do so in an orderly way.
“We want everyone to have a great time at Christmas but an enjoyable night also means it should be a safe night.
“We will not tolerate those who spoil the night for others through assaults and disorder.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “I am looking forward to going out on patrol on Festive Friday in Carlisle and to see the Welfare Hubs first hand.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves, have a good time and celebrate on Festive Friday and throughout the holidays but also to remain as safe as possible, and we also want our blue light services working for us to stay safe too.
“Festive Friday marks the start of the festive party season as many places of work close for the holidays.
“The last Friday before Christmas sees revellers enjoying a night out and indulging in the Christmas spirit.
“The message is simple: Have a great night but please don’t overdo it otherwise you could be locked up, don’t ruin your Christmas!”