POLICE flooded the streets of Bolton to keep thousands of revellers safe on Mad Friday — one of the busiest nights of the year.
Up to 50 officers were drafted into the town centre for the night to deal with incidents including a bouncer being arrested on suspicion of attacking a punter, people caught using drugs and revellers being disorderly.
Eleven people were arrested and others given “direction to leave notices” ordering them to get out of the town centre or face arrest.
But police said that the majority of people behaved themselves.
Paramedics and Street Angels assisted with alcohol-related incidents including a woman, who thought her drink had been spiked and was taken to hospital by ambulance after collapsing and a woman struggling to walk through drink, who was on her own after being separated from her boyfriend.
Police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd and his deputy, Jim Battle, spent hours in the town centre on Friday night getting an insight into policing issues in Bolton.
They were accompanied by Ch Supt David Hull and Insp Andy Sidebotham, from Bolton Central.
Ch Supt Hull said: “We expected this to be the busiest weekend of the year and our number one priority is to keep people safe and to have an enjoyable night out.
“We want them to come back because it’s a nice environment to come back to. I am pleased with what I have seen of the police officers. There seems to be genuine willingness from licensees to work together with police.”
Revellers, many of whom were on a work night out, typically started their night earlier than punters on a usual Friday.
Police said Bolton draws people in from outside of town from Bury and Wigan due to some venues staying open well into the morning.
In the early hours the town centre was packed with dozens of taxis along Bradshawgate and people walking along the pavements and crossing the road to get to other bars.
Licensing officers started their night shift by paying informal visits to bars and clubs early in the evening to ensure no irresponsible drinking offers were available.
Suspected troublemakers were removed from the town early into the night with the assistance of the police’s tactical aid unit.
At 8pm a man was arrested near to The Post Office Bar for a breach of the peace.
A short time later officers were called to Shots bar in Bradshawgate where a man was alleged to have head butted a bouncer.
The alleged attacker was lying on the floor complaining of pain to his leg. CCTV was reviewed and a bouncer was later arrested on suspicion of assault.
At 8.30pm officers came across two men, aged in their 20s, acting suspiciously. They were searched and admitted possessing cocaine for personal use.
They were arrested and later released following a caution. A man involved in an incident while queuing to get into J2 in Nelson Square was also arrested.
But with a large police presence throughout town the majority of revellers kept out of trouble.
Other incidents dealt with by police included taxis failing to obey the “no U-turn” rule in Bradshawgate and double parking, causing a danger to drinkers.
Numerous people attempting to drink in the street and take drinks into taxis were also stopped by officers.
Other Mad Friday coverage included: BBC Radio Humberside, BBC Radio York and Tamworth Herald.