FESTIVE revellers are being warned to behave themselves in bars – or spend the night behind them.
Police will be out in force to make sure celebrations go smoothly tonight and throughout the coming days in Hartlepool and East Durham.
And police chiefs are telling those who cause any disruption that they will be quickly locked up and possibly hauled before the courts.
The last Friday before Christmas is often referred to as “Black Eye Friday” due to the amount of people out partying and the trouble this can bring.
But officers will be working with security guards and councils to make sure everyone enjoys the night in peace, stays safe and gets home without any problems.
Temporary Chief Inspector Lee Rukin, of Hartlepool Police, said: “Hartlepool Police would like to wish those who intend on celebrating the break up for Christmas a safe and enjoyable time.
“There will be many people attending Christmas parties or visiting their local pubs and the town centre environment.
“The vast majority of people will visit, enjoy and go home having had a good experience. However, there are a small minority of people who sadly want to spoil that experience for others.
“We are warning those who do intend to cause disruption that their opportunity to do so will be thwarted.
“We have developed strong and effective tactics with our local authority partners and the security industry to tackle disruptive and drunken individuals.”
Temp Chf Insp Rukin is also keen for people to make sure they keep their valuables safe, look after their friends and not drink excessively.
He added: “We would encourage people to plan their return home in advance so they know they and their friends will be safe.”
Meanwhile, officers from Peterlee Police will be visiting pubs in Peterlee from 5pm today until the early hours tomorrow to ensure a safe night out.
Inspector Dave Coxon said: “We will be making sure people are enjoying themselves sensibly.
“Peterlee is a safe place to spend your free time to go out and enjoy yourself but people need to be aware of their own personal safety.
“Keep valuables close by, if you go out for a drink make sure you book a taxi in advance and know your limits.”
Sergeant Steve Hawkes, also of Peterlee Police, added: “We want people to enjoy themselves but we are just asking people to be safe and responsible.”
The Mail has been running a series of articles about how Hartlepool Police are tackling crime at Christmas.
Problems associated with this time of year include burglary, drunken violence, domestic disturbances, shoplifting and drink driving.
A number of initiatives have been launched to stop these crimes happening, while officers have also been handing out Christmas cards to known criminals, warning them that they are being watched.
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