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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Special report - Evening Mail shadows police on Super Sunday

GROWING up in Furness, Super Sunday was always seen as a big night. From the age of 18 almost everyone in the area would dust-off their glad rags and hit the town.

There was trouble but it never really crossed my mind just how much work the barrage of revellers can create for the police.

By 4.30pm on Easter Sunday, members of the public had already reported seeing a man vomit in Market Street in Dalton, and a number of calls reporting drunken behaviour had been made.

As the clock reached 7.30pm, more than 150 people were in the Kings Arms in Dalton Road.

PCs Jenna Birbeck and Paul Williams were on the graveyard shift, patrolling the town centre from 7pm to 5am.

PC Williams said: “We’re on until 5am which is when the clubs are chucking out – that’s generally when things get busier.

“It can take around 15 minutes to move people and that can be when we get a lot of trouble.”

In the Furness Railway the night got off to a lively start.

One of the first shouts of the shift came at 7.20pm when a fight was reported at the Abbey Road pub.

A drunken man had been asked to leave after being involved in argument – he then fell over and cut his face.

Police were dispatched but took no action after the injured man said he didn’t want to press charges and that he had fallen.

He was then taken to hospital for treatment to a cut eye.

Between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, 20 people were kicked out of the pub for drunken behaviour – something police said was a concern as it meant those asked to leave would be looking to move their night elsewhere.

Seven section 27 orders were handed out on Sunday, which ban drinkers from the town centre for anywhere from four to 48 hours. If the recipients are found in the area before the warning has expired they can be arrested and face criminal charges.

From Thursday night through to the early hours of yesterday (9/4) police arrested nine people for being drunk and disorderly while four were arrested on suspicion of assault, nine were locked up for anti-social behaviour and one drugs arrest was made.

Officers had also been busy dealing with incidents outside of the town centre.

PC Birbeck said: “People see the police as the enemy but we’re not.

“They think we don’t have a sense of humour but out of these uniforms we’re human too. We prefer to issue section 27 orders – this way we get them of out of town and it protects that person from taking more drink on board or being involved in more serious incidents. It’s for everybody’s benefit.”

PC Williams added: “The orders are for alcohol-related offences but they can be given to a sober person if you think they are going to get involved in disorder.”

PC Williams said on top of alcohol-related offences there were problems with revellers mixing legal highs with drink, which he said can result in a ‘cocktail of aggression’.

Police had expected large crowds due to a sold-out Beatles tribute act playing at The Nines in Dalkeith Street as well as a Hollyoaks star making an appearance at Club M in Cornwallis Street.

Despite expectations of a busy night, the PCs were keen to stress they prefer to concentrate on prevention rather than making arrests.

PC Birbeck said: “We try to work together with door staff to discuss problems and we meet with them every Saturday.” Over the weekend, the pair also went on foot patrols, covering a route from Ormsgill through to Salthouse Road, but found the areas largely well-behaved.

Typical problem areas, such as the Middlefield area of Ormsgill, were visited but were relatively quiet.

PC Birbeck said there had been some problems with people gathering outside the shops and some drinking but there were hopes to establish an alcohol-free zone in the area.

PC Williams said officers tend to resolve problems by talking to potential offenders but often if someone has been drinking it becomes difficult and often people can ‘talk themselves’ into a drunk and disorderly charge – often for insulting a police officer.

Yesterday police reported that all 10 cells at Barrow police station were occupied overnight on Sunday.

PC Birbeck added: “If you can’t handle your drink don’t come into the town centre and cause trouble because the police will take action.”

Have your say

I hope the people of Barrow appreciate the good work that the police in general, and the two officers highlighted in the article, are doing for them.
With this level of policing integrity I think we can all rest easier in our beds at night.
Congratulations to the police force in finding two officers of outstanding quality. Well done.

Posted by Observer on 15 April 2012 at 00:46

The opening paragraph of this article is a bit too all-inclusive. I've lived all my life in Barrow & it's only recently that I've ever heard of this so-called Super Sunday. Call me out of touch, but night clubbing was never really my 'thing'. I definitely admire the police for what they do in town at weekends.

Posted by Maggie on 13 April 2012 at 17:36

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