Black-Eye Friday warning as drinkers head out for pre-Christmas celebrations

People who staff night time businesses are to be helped to tackle hate crime directed at them by drinkers.
People who staff night time businesses are to be helped to tackle hate crime directed at them by drinkers.

Police are urging people to stay safe over the festive period ahead of “black-eye Friday” today.

Cleveland Police says there are simple steps revellers can take to keep their Christmas and New Year celebrations enjoyable, safe and crime-free.

Extra patrols will remain in the main town centres and officers are hoping for a safe and enjoyable environment for people out and about over Christmas and New Year.

Officers work all year around with partners in the local authorities, the health service, voluntary sector and licensees to keep our town centres safe, but they say the public can play their part in ensuring their own safety this Christmas.

Acting Chief Inspector Mark Hall said: “Of course we want people to enjoy themselves whilst they’re out in pubs and clubs, but we also want to remind them to behave responsibly. Indulging in too much alcohol can lead to violence, accidents or other crimes taking place.

“Don’t leave drinks unattended or they could be tampered with, and keep an eye out for your friends. Make sure you have plans in place for how you’re going to get home, by booking a licensed taxi in advance and letting someone know what time you will be home. Don’t let your friends wander off alone where they could become vulnerable.

“I would also appeal once again to residents to make proper use of the 999 emergency facility. Nationally the service tends to see an increase in inappropriate calls over the festive period and here in Cleveland it is no different.

“The 999 number should only be used in an emergency – where there is risk of injury, risk of serious damage to property, when a crime is in progress, or where a serious incident which needs immediate police attendance is taking place.

“The non-emergency number is 101 and this should be used where there is no immediate danger to life, the crime is not in progress, the offender is not nearby or if you have a general enquiry.

“Inappropriate calls to the police service prevent and delay genuine emergency calls from getting through to the operators in our control room, potentially risking the lives of those who need urgent assistance.”