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Police launch campaign to tackle binge drinking
CHESHIRE Police has launched a campaign to combat binge drinking in the town.
As part of Totally Wasted, reporter Matthew Hobbs spent a Saturday night on patrol with officers.
My evening begins on foot patrol in Stockton Heath with PC Brian Fitzpatrick and PC Nicky Anderton of Warrington South NPU.
The atmosphere in the village is good with only drunk people attempting to flag down taxis on a still busy London Road causing problems.
Stockton Heath is not known for trouble and PC Fitzpatrick predicts a quiet night.
"The main thing about policing the night time economy is how you talk to people," he said.
"If you are polite most people will listen. The town centre can be a different matter."
And that is where I am headed next.
I meet Sgt Neil Drum, of Warrington Town Centre NPU, who takes me to meet his team on Bridge Street.
There is a riot van parked at the crossroads with Academy Way, with numerous officers visible.
Revellers also fill the streets, some walking between bars, others stood talking in groups.
The atmosphere, while not volatile, retains some tension.
People shout to another, while others talk to police who treat it calmly.
As the evening progresses drunk women lie on kerbs, minor fights break out, doormen are assaulted and police are verbally abused but officers are not heavy handed - far from it.
Vulnerable, aggressive and rowdy people are dealt with in a similar fashion.
They are reasoned with, encouraged to go home and as a last resort, arrested.
But is this all normal?
Sgt Graham Elliot, of Warrington Central NPU, is one of the officers drafted in to help with the weekend trade.
He said: "These things do happen but the key thing is to remain polite and courteous while maintaining authority.
"It is not always easy to do but they are not abusing us personally - it is the uniform. It is something you experience and get better at it.
"It is about recognising and allowing people to be boisterous but when they cross that line we need to step in.
"We deal with things that need to be dealt with.
"There is a big difference between friends arguing and someone who is going to fight.
"But we want people to feel safe, we don't want them to feel that if they come into town they will be assaulted.
"I don't think the reputation of the town centre is merited.
"Ever since the town centre team was set up it gets better and better.
"Tonight has been typical.
"We have had a couple of low level assaults with minor injuries but mainly people are just here to have fun."