Police will triple patrols in Mansfield town centre this weekend in a bid to crackdown on the potential for booze-fuelled Christmas carnage.
The Friday before Christmas is traditionally when many revellers get paid and finish work for the festive break – before heading for the town’s pubs and clubs.
And to combat any hint of trouble, Mansfield will increase the number of officers on duty threefold on both Friday and Saturday to prepare for the celebrations.
Inspector Neil Priestley, Mansfield’s leading police officer, said: “We will have early intervention when we talk to people earlier on in the evening to let them know we will be around.
“We’ll also be linking in with the pubs and the nightclubs.
“We want people to enjoy Christmas, so we are there to help and make sure they have a good evening.
“It’s going to be a really busy weekend. We’re going to have enough staff on to deal with any incidents and with any offenders who are hell bent on causing other people problems.
“They will be dealt with accordingly.”
Often nicknamed Mad Friday, or even Black-Eye Friday, it is often one of the busiest nights of the year when revellers can drink too much.
On a regular Friday and Saturday night in Mansfield, six officers and a sergeant would be on duty.
However, for this weekend, 17 officers and two sergeants are due to work on both nights, from 8pm to 5am.
But Jono Edwards, of the Mansfield Association of Licensed Venues, which represents the town’s pubs and clubs, says the reputation of trouble in Mansfield town centre is outdated.
He said: “Even though it’s labelled Mad Friday, it’s nowhere near as mad as it used to be. People are very safe and will be well looked after when they come into the town – incidents have reduced year on year.
“We just want people to have confidence to come out and enjoy themselves.”
Last year, police worked in conjunction with pubs in the run up to Christmas to breath-test drinkers at the door.
Although it was voluntary for drinkers, it was found that more than a quarter of those willing to take the test were found to be too drunk to enter.
The scheme was welcomed by managers of the licensed premises, who said it provided justification for turning drunk people away.
Mr Edwards says the breathalysers are still in use – and those found to be drunk will be stopped from entering pubs and clubs this weekend.
He said: “The message we want to get out there is that it’s illegal for door staff and bar staff to let people in who are already intoxicated.
“If they have pre-loaded at home before coming out in town then they won’t get in.
“We’re working with police and Mansfield District Council to ensure this weekend especially runs as smoothly as possible.
“We’re expecting a really busy weekend, like we have done through December.
“Most pubs in the town centre have reported an increase in like-for-like sales on last year which is really positive.”