Police in Leeds are expecting to receive 50 per cent more calls than normal this weekend as Christmas revellers take to the streets for ‘Mad Friday’.
The last Friday before Christmas is traditionally one of the busiest of the year because of the high volume of alcohol-related incidents caused by festive drinking.
West Yorkshire Police says its officers, special constables and police community support officers, who normally patrol at the north and south ends of Leeds city centre on weekend evenings, will this Friday be operating across a wider area.
Police in Leeds generally receive around 500 calls in an average 24-hour period but expect that to rise by about 50 per cent over the weekend.
The force says it will be working closely with other local agencies and has carried out a detailed review of policing on previous Mad Fridays to make sure its resources are in the right place.
We know from experience that much of the increase in calls we receive will be to incidents where alcohol is a factor.Chief Inspector Chris Matthews, West Yorkshire Police
Chief Inspector Chris Matthews, who oversees the policing of Leeds city centre, said: “The last weekend before Christmas can traditionally be very busy for the police, but we have planned accordingly and have additional officers in place to keep people safe and deal with any incidents that do occur.
“Leeds has some excellent pubs, bars and clubs and we know people will be out to celebrate finishing work on what is for many the start of the Christmas holiday season.
“While we want people to enjoy themselves, we want to them to do it safely and without putting themselves or others at risk. We will be working closely with licensees, door staff and our local authority partners to keep people safe.
“We know from experience that much of the increase in calls we receive will be to incidents where alcohol is a factor. We would urge people to pace themselves and drink sensibly to avoid leaving themselves vulnerable or at risk of getting into trouble.
“We’d also encourage people to plan their journey home in advance and stay together with their friends. Only take licensed taxis and make sure you have enough money to get home.
“Keep your phone charged and in credit. If possible make sure that somebody knows where you are going and what time you will be back.
“Take good care of your valuables. The theft of phones in licensed premises remains an issue so keep yours safe.
“The city is generally a safe place to enjoy a night out and we want people to have a great time. The last thing anyone wants is to have their Christmas break ruined by something that could have been easily avoided.”