‘Mad Friday’, the last working day in December, traditionally marks the official countdown to Christmas as people celebrate finishing work for the festive period.
300,000 revellers are expected to congregate in Manchester city centre as part of a £15million shopping and drinking extravaganza.
Drunkenness, and lots of it, will be the name of the game and from previous experience we can expect to see violence and vomiting aplenty.
In reply to this Greater Manchester Police will have extra patrols on duty from as early as 3pm, with office workers set to finish and begin the celebrations.
As well as roads and pavements, officers will be patrolling the bus and tram networks as well as stops and stations to deter crime and anti-social behaviour.
Police may invoke ‘direction to leave’ powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Police Act, which will give police on the ground a temporary power to order trouble-makers to leave the city or risk arrest.
Among the 100-plus police officers who will be on patrol will be Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, who has urged revellers to enjoy themselves but behave or risk arrest.
“Our officers will be on duty throughout the holiday period to ensure people have a safe and peaceful Christmas,” he said.
“However, we ask that everyone take a moment to think about how they will contribute to their safety and the safety of others around them.
“We want people to come out and enjoy themselves but please, take personal responsibility for your actions.
“One thoughtless act after too much to drink can have disastrous results, it’s not uncommon for people under the influence of drink or drugs to lose control, and it is those split-second actions that result in devastating, life-long consequences.
“If you’re out tonight then please, have a great time but look after yourself and your friends.
“Know your limits, stay with your friends, control your temper and walk away from trouble. Make sure it’s a taxi, rather than a police car or ambulance picking you up this weekend.”
GMP will be broadcasting live updates from the 999 and 101 call handling centre throughout Friday night (8pm – 2am). Please follow @GMPolice on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Chris Vaughan, via Flickr, with thanks