Police urge revellers to stay safe on second 'Black Friday'

ONE of Glasgow's most senior police officers is urging revellers to put safety first as the city braces itself for one of the busiest nights of the year.

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Police urge partygoers to stay safe
Police urge partygoers to stay safe

A surge of partygoers will arrive in the city centre tonight as the second 'Black Friday' of the year gets under way.

The last Friday before Christmas is the traditional office party night.

But it has been spread over two Fridays this year, with a massive influx of partygoers swamping the city last weekend and again tonight.

Strathclyde Police have put extra resources in place in all parts of the city to cope with the influx of people.

Chief Inspector Alan Porte, area commander for Glasgow city centre, said: "We are anticipating an even busier festive period this year because of the way Christmas and New Year have fallen.

"And we have plans in place around the city centre to keep people safe, while they are out celebrating.

"But the main message is: Be sensible, plan your night and take care of yourself.

"My officers and I want everyone to have a good time but also get home safely.

"Glasgow is a very safe city and we intend to keep it that way."

Mr Porte urged partygoers, particularly women, to use only licensed taxi firms and to avoid walking in unlit areas - including city centre lanes.

Glasgow is already attracting record numbers of revellers to the city centre. Figures from last weekend show the city's marshalled taxi ranks were the busiest they have been in years.

More than 10,500 revellers queued for taxis across the city centre's four NiteZones last Friday night.

Glasgow Taxis dealt with 25,000 hires.

And the firm will have its full fleet of almost 1000 taxis on the roads tonight to cope with demand.

Stephen Flynn, vice chairman of Glasgow Taxis, said: "Last Friday was an exceptionally busy night for us with revellers flooding in and out of the city.

"Our near 1000-strong driver network was out in force, handling more than 30,000 hires.

"We are expecting this Friday to match, if not exceed, this huge total as Glaswegians and visitors to the city make the most of the remaining time left before Christmas, be it shopping or enjoying the last Friday night out before the big day arrives.

"This weekend we will again be deploying extra staff at the four city Nite Zones, to ensure our customers get home safely and as quickly as possible.

"As well as hailing one of our taxis, members of the public can also call us on 0141 429 7070 or book using our smartphone app."

Mr Porte also encouraged revellers to use the city's marshalled NiteZones taxi ranks.

The city has five NiteZones in operation over the festive period.

These are situated at Gordon Street, Sauchiehall Street, Albion Street, Byres Road and Shawlands.

He added: "If you go out with a group of friends, stay with that group of friends, don't go off with someone you have only just met.

"Also, make sure you have enough money to get a taxi home - and always use a taxi which is properly licensed.

"People are often under the influence of alcohol when walking home so they are potentially vulnerable, and I would strongly advise against walking home alone."

Volunteer 'street pastors' will also be patrolling the city and a special SOS bus will be parked in Gordon Street, near Central Station to offer advice to vulnerable revellers.

As revealed by the Evening Times last week, police are carrying out extra patrols across the city's bridges in a bid to prevent crime.

Extra officers have been deployed on bridges connecting the city centre to the South Side, over the River Clyde, during the busy festive period.

Throughout weekends in December, police will provide a presence at every footbridge and vehicle bridge in the area.

The action plan was developed by Mr Porte, along with Pollokshields and South Side Central area commander Chief Inspector Mark Hargreaves, and Govan area commander, Chief Inspector Carol McGuire.

It was prompted by a spate of muggings which took place on the Clyde Walkway, near Springfield Quay, during October.

The male victims, aged 26, 28 and 36, were robbed of mobiles and a camera.

A 17-year-old male has been charged with these offences along with three other thefts.

rebecca.gray@heraldandtimes.co.uk

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