Police alert to halt drunken violence

Confrontation in Blackpool between drinkers and police

Confrontation in Blackpool between drinkers and police

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VIOLENT and drunken behaviour will not be tolerated as revellers hit the town centre to toast the New Year.

That was the message from Blackpool Police who say they will use early intervention powers to move on drunk people who represent a risk of becoming aggresive.

Supt Bill McMahon, operations manager for Western Division which covers Blackpool and Fylde, said the force was prepared for the extra stampede of party-goers expected during the remainder of the festive season.

He told The Gazette: “Plans are in place for New Year’s Eve – we are having extra patrols and mounted officers so people can go out and enjoy themselves in the town centre.

“It’s important we go out there and offer reassurance by stopping offences in the first place.

“Section 27 orders are one of our powers which can be used to move people on who are potentially violent.

“We will be using them to make sure they leave the town centre.”

Police say drunken behaviour is compounded by people “pre-loading”, which means they drink at home before they go out in a bid to offset the high cost of drinking in pubs and clubs all night.

Supt McMahon added: “People drink at home and then come into town already the worse for wear.

“It increases their chances of being victims of crime or getting involved in crime.

“We want people to enjoy themselves but come into town with a responsible attitude.

“We will have officers out there to engage with people and be visible.”

Dedicated teams of officers will be patrolling key locations such as Queen Street, Market Street and Talbot Square, where police expect there to be a high concentration of drunken revellers.

Officers have also been working with local taxi firms to ensure measures are in place to help revellers get home safely.

Laura Lawler, geographic inspector for Blackpool town centre, added: “We meet and greet groups as they arrive and offer them advice.

“And we are working in partnership with taxis so when people come out of the pubs and clubs, they will help them get home.

“They normally come in between 2am and 3am but we are going to do two slots – one at 7pm for people who have been out during the afternoon and early evening and then another between 2am and 5am.”