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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Rowdy Cumbrian revellers start New Year in cells

Police were called out 250 times in six hours as they dealt with the fallout out from drink-fuelled New Year celebrations.

Dozens of people spent the first hours of 2013 in police cells in Carlisle, Whitehaven, and Workington and the ambulance service took emergency calls at a rate of one every 10 seconds.

By 10am yesterday, 17 people were still in the cells at Carlisle, while across west Cumbria more than 20 people had a taste of custody.

Police confirmed that between midnight on New Year’s Eve and 6am, they were called out to 250 incidents.

In most cases, say officers, people were arrested for drink-related offences, including assaults, domestic disputes, and disorder.

In west Cumbria, the cells in both Workington and Whitehaven were filled, and one prisoner had to be transferred to Carlisle’s Durranhill HQ.

“Officers were working at full stretch all night,” said a spokeswoman for the force in Workington yesterday.

Cumbria police inspector Chris Wright said that while there was a lot for police to do there were thankfully no serious injuries.

“Our cells were busy but not full,” he said. “Officers worked hard but the majority of people behaved responsibly and had a happy new year.”

“I’m glad to say there were no significant injuries.”

Throughout the night, five officers were assaulted as they went about their duties, but all were well enough to continue working.

Police spent much of yesterday processing the people arrested and pursuing inquiries about the alleged offences they may have been involved in.

Across the north west, in the first seven hours of the year, ambulance control workers took 2,265 emergency calls – the equivalent of one emergency call every 10 seconds. Of the total, 546 were category A 999 calls – for serious or life-threatening incidents. Call handlers also dealt with calls from some people who ignored the recent plea to use the 999 system only for genuine emergencies. They included a 999 call from one person who wanted paramedics to take a dog’s temperature.

Derek Cartwright, Director of Emergency Service at NWAS, praised the hard work and dedication of staff and added: “The service always expects a high increase in demand during this time.

“However, we anticipated this surge and managed it appropriately by increasing resources. We will continue to push the message about acting responsibly and the importance of keeping ambulances free to attend to those patients with a genuine medical need.”

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