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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Cumbria Police report street violence slashed over Christmas period

POLICE says street violence across Furness and Ulverston over the festive season was slashed – but incidents in the home were up.

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RARE EVENT Police deal with a tense situation in Duke Street, Barrow, on the Friday before Christmas. Officers say the number of violent incidents they had to deal with on the area’s streets fell this Christmas, although there were more calls to incidents in the home JON GRANGER REF: 50057490B002

A Barrow detective said that was probably down to more people boozing at home and victim’s feeling more confident to report domestic abuse.

On New Year’s Eve police across the county made 60 arrests, many drink related. Officers were also called to 254 incidents between midnight and 6.15am on New Year’s Day – mostly “low level antisocial behaviour”.

Cumbria’s force launched a hard-hitting campaign before the festive period kicked off. They warned revellers not to let their night out end up with them behind bars.

Extra officers were out on the streets to defuse violent incidents and keep the Christmas peace as hundreds more people packed into local pubs and clubs.

This year the force promoted their “One punch can change two lives” campaign which reminds party-goers of the consequences of losing control through alcohol consumption. This is part of there on-going 2Think before you drink” force-wide campaign.

Officers also worked with licensed premises to try to prevent people who are already drunk being served further alcohol. Pubwatch also continued to inform local licensees about those who have been banned.

Barrow Detective Sergeant Adam Ewat said: “It was really quite throughout the festive period and there was not as lot of disorder.

The overall picture was that although incidents were down there was an increase in reports alcohol related domestic abuse. That seems to be the picture nationally too.

“I think more people are drinking at home than out on the streets and at home they may have a bit more. The increase is also down to victims feeling more confident to report such violence to the police.

“Overall there were a lot less problems than there had been in previous years.”

Cumbria’s crime commissioner said that generally excessive drinking habits were placing an extra strain on the public purse.

Richard Rhodes also said late licensing meant the force was having to pay overtime for longer, with officers pounding the beat around nightlife hotspots, such as Barrow’s Cornwallis Street and Cavendish Street.

He said: “In a general sense, my feeling is we have a situation in which extra expenditure is being incurred by the health service and police service as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.

“We have to think very seriously about that.

“It’s not just a police thing and it’s not just a health service thing. It’s also an issue for local councils and the issuing of licenses.

“Fast food outlets in the same location as the clubs mean people don’t disperse as quickly as they use to. All these things need to be considered.”

On police costs and longer licensing hours, introduced some years ago, he added: “In terms of the police, in the old days one expected to pay police overtime until 2am.

“Now it’s 4am or 5am.”

Derek Cartwright, director of emergency service at the North West Ambulance Service, said: “The service always expects a high increase in demand during this time. However we anticipate this surge and managed it appropriately by increasing resources.”

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