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2 January 2014, 11:57
The number of people in our region calling the police and ambulance across the New Year dropped compared to last year.
Norfolk Police have told Heart they got 26% fewer calls than 2012/13, receiving 274 in total. And the figure was down in Suffolk too, but by just 4% - 354 were made to them.
Superintendent Dave Marshall for Norfolk Police said: “Preparation for New Year begins months in advance to ensure that the force has sufficient resources in place to be able to police the expected busy periods where it is known there will be greater numbers of people out and about and visiting the county’s night spots.
“The Constabulary had a high visible presence with extra patrols in Norwich and other towns in the county and also had powers available to deal with those behaving in an anti-social manner or committing an offence. These include using a section 27 notice (allowing us to disperse the person from the area), fixed penalty notices or arrest. It is traditionally one of our busiest times of year and, although there were a few incidents of disorder across the county, it is pleasing to see that, generally, there was no major disturbances and that on the whole people celebrated New Year in a good-natured way.”
Meanwhile, the East of England Ambulance Service also received fewer calls. Staff and volunteers cared for more than 2,000 patients during what's been described as a busy New Year's Eve into 2014.
They saw 2,164 emergency calls across the East between 7pm New Year's Eve and 7am New Year's Day. Most of them involved falls as well as assaults and sick patients. Of these, around 700 people were taken to hospital. This is a slight decrease on last year, when EEAST received around 2,500 calls during the same period.
In Suffolk 255 calls were made while in Norfolk the figure was slightly higher at 279.
Services worked in partnership as many town and city centres had minor injury units setup to treat patients as 999 calls peaked at just after midnight. Control rooms at EEAST reported that call demand began to rise early, which stretched the busy period for ambulance crews.
Acting Director of Service Delivery Rob Ashford said: "My thanks and praise go out to all our staff and volunteers who worked during this difficult shift. You have all been working as hard as ever over the festive period and I’m proud of all those who have been carrying out lifesaving work for the Trust over the past few days.
“While a downward trend, however slight, is good news and a sign that perhaps people are taking note of our advice, it's still a very busy start to the year."