Wigan police are preparing for an increase in alcohol-fuelled violence on the busiest night out of the year.
Roads in the town centre will be closed and knife arches will be erected at clubs in an attempt to keep “Mad Friday” revellers safe.
Paramedics are also bracing themselves for the Friday night festivities, with medics saying they expect an increase in calls from the same time last year.
Chief Inspector Mark Coulson from GMP said: “We have a specialist operation happening in Wigan this Friday, December 21, to ensure that everyone enjoys the festivities sensibly and responsibly.
“We know that alcohol fuelled violence can increase at this time of year so we will have work focused on this, however all crime is a priority for GMP and we will continue to work to keep people safe, particularly the most vulnerable.
“As part of this year’s operation we have worked with our partners to bring knife arches and road closures to the town centre (King Street in particular), extra patrols in key areas including Ashton and Leigh utilising officers, Specials, MASH and volunteers such as the Street Pastors and work with pubs and clubs to make sure they are doing their part to keep everyone safe.
“However we cannot do this alone. Christmas is a wonderful time of year that everyone should be able to enjoy with their loved ones without the threat of violence. Please, drink responsibly and look out for one another.”
Officers are reminding partygoers that even one punch can end in death.
The force is promoting its “one punch can kill” campaign, which is particularly poignant this year following the sentencing of Craig Cropper, 29, earlier this year who killed Nicholas ‘Baggo’ Sullivan after punching him in the face.
Mr Sullivan, 51, had been in a Hindley pub at the time of the attack.
The father-of-two was knocked to the floor and suffered a cardiac arrest.
Superintendent Howard Mellington said: “Having too much to drink can leave you open to becoming a victim of crime or even get you into trouble through violent actions. Please think twice about your actions and resist from engaging in violent or aggressive behaviour.
“Avoid trouble, control your anger, look out for your friends and walk away from trouble - you may not only save your life but someone else’s as well.”
North West Ambulance Service is also issuing a warning to those celebrating the last Friday before Christmas.
A spokesperson said: “As Christmas party season is now well and truly underway we are anticipating a rise in 999 calls for revellers who have taking their celebrations a little bit too far.
“Last year, the ambulance service dealt with around 752emergency incidents in the Lancashire area between 6pm on Friday 22 December and 6am the following morning, a seven per cent increase on the previous year’s ‘Mad Friday,’ a number which is expected to rise even further this year.
“We do have extra resources in place during evenings that we expect will be especially busy such as the last Friday before Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
“As always, we do urge public to help us out this holiday season by only calling 999 in a life-threatening or potentially life-threatening situations and taking a bit of extra care if you are out drinking by knowing your limits and planning your journey home.”