Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Police prepare for festive Friday before Christmas

Taxi marshals in Swansea
Taxi marshals, 'street pastors' and mobile first aid units will be on the streets with revellers for what emergency services call 'Bleak' or 'Mad Friday'

Police and paramedics across Wales are preparing for one of the busiest party nights of the year.

Dubbed "Bleak Friday" or "Black Friday", thousands of revellers are expected on city and town streets.

Initiatives in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, and Rhyl include mobile first aid units, taxis marshals and "street pastors" or "angels" to help people.

An estimated 300,000 shoppers and party-goers are expected through Cardiff city centre alone on Friday.

South Wales Police is running a campaign to cut alcohol-related violence, while the union Unison said paramedics face an increased risk of attack.

Chief Superintendent Josh Jones said the policing operation would include checks on taxis and other licensed vehicles as well as officers operating from a mobile medic station at the Millennium Stadium.

He said: "My advice, to people heading into the city on Friday night, is stay in control and don't do anything to make yourself vulnerable."

Christmas party-goers
The last Friday before Christmas is set to be popular with party-goers

As part of the force's alcohol-related violence campaign bars and nightclubs in Cardiff and Swansea are displaying mirror stickers which place partygoers behind bars or in a police cell with the warning "Instant Regret - Just add alcohol".

Swansea's Wind Street will close to traffic at midday on Friday as the city's gears up for thousands of revellers.

As well as taxi marshals, a team of church-based "street pastors" will be on hand to help people in distress.

Strategic community safety manager Jeff Davison said paramedics based in Castle Square would provide first aid triage for people with minor injuries.

He said: "With a very large number of people, there may be a few trips and falls that can be dealt with effectively and easily at the scene rather than have people go up to casualty."

Stay safe advice
Never accept drinks from a stranger
Do not leave drinks unattended
Make arrangements on how to get home
Use a taxi from a reputable firm
Avoid walking home alone
Walk away from trouble
Pace your drinks and drink water or soft drinks during the evening
Do not mix drink and drugs
Source: Gwynedd community safety

In Newport, as well as taxi marshals, anyone in need of a taxi can text CAB to 83222 to receive a text back with the numbers of three randomly-picked private hire or taxi firms closest to their location.

Meanwhile Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Aberystwyth will hand out free bottles water to revellers to help drinkers stay relatively sober.

Pc Neil Thompson said: "The idea of handing out bottles of water serves not only as high visibility policing in the town, but also gives revellers a chance to cool down.

"And, of course, the water also flushes out the toxins and ensures that people remain well hydrated."


In Rhyl a 13-strong team of "street angels" made up of mainly churchgoers and Salvation Army volunteers, will be out at peak times on seven days over the festive period.

They will had out goodie bags with personal safety alarms, condoms and bottles of water and try to help people find a taxi home.

Gwynedd Community Safety Partnership is warning people not to let their guard down as they enjoy themselves.

"A lot of people will enjoy a drink at some of Gwynedd's many pubs, bars and restaurants over the Christmas and the New Year, and there is a responsibility to look after yourself and others, and to know your limits," said Catherine Roberts, the council's senior community safety officer.

"Our advice to people to stay safe over the holiday season is not to place yourself in a risky situation and not to do things you wouldn't normally do," she added.

Flintshire Young People's Drug & Alcohol Team will be distributing safety packs a part of the team's "Taking the anti out of antisocial behaviour" campaign, which promotes the importance of keeping safe while drinking.

The packs will contain a personal alarm, a bottle of water, a snack bar, a pair of flip flops and information on alcohol units, emergency action and health advice, and will be distributed on 17, 18 and 19 December.

Print Sponsor

Angels' street help for revellers
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'Black Friday' keeps crews busy
20 Dec 08 |  Wales

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