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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Extra Carlisle police patrols for England World Cup games

Carlisle police are set to put as many patrols out for England’s first World Cup match as they do on the notorious Black Eye Friday.

Extra officers will be on foot in the city centre on Saturday June 14 to deter any troublemakers, with the force predicting a huge turn-out at pubs and clubs as the national squad kicks off its campaign.

The first side England will face in the group stages is former World Cup winners Italy in a mouthwatering clash that does not start until 11pm.

Sergeant Richard Higgin, who works the city centre beat, said work was well underway to prepare for the tournament so people could enjoy a fun and safe night out cheering on manager Roy Hodgson’s men.

Black Eye Friday, just before Christmas, is one of the most heavily-staffed days of the year in terms of city centre police patrols.

It is traditionally the most popular date for start-of-holiday festive drinks, sometimes leading to violent flashpoints and earning the day its notorious nickname.

Police in the last decade have been keen to move away from this image, instead referring to the day as Festive Friday.

Sgt Higgin told the News & Star: “There will be extra patrols for all the England matches. We have planned right up to the semi-final stage. We are working with doorstaff and licensees and looking at ways to make sure it is enjoyable and safe for people.

“With the first game on Saturday June 14, we will have as many staff out on foot as on Festive Friday before Christmas.”

Following the opening game of the last World Cup in 2010, police said as many as 10,000 people were out in Carlisle city centre as England began their campaign – but only a handful of arrests had to be made.

Officers said at the time that extra patrols led to low levels of trouble on one of the busiest nights ever seen in Botchergate – the traditional heart of the city’s nightlife scene.

Sgt Higgin said it was anticipated bars would be “absolutely packed” this time round too. “We will be giving advice to pubs, such as using plastic glasses and not having glass outside,” he added.

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