IT WAS always destined to be one of the busiest nights of the year for South Yorkshire Police.
‘Mad Friday’ - the Friday before Christmas when workers finishing their shifts traditionally let their hair down and celebrate the coming festivities - is also associated with drink-fuelled trouble and anti-social behaviour.
So to help the public understand the number and variety of incidents police have to deal with, officers used social network Twitter to give out details of every incident reported to them that day.
And, between midday on Friday and midnight, they tweeted 900 incidents - which included 65 arrests mostly for drink related offences.
There were 394 incidents in Sheffield, 162 in Rotherham, 76 in Barnsley and 268 in Doncaster.
Incidents included an argument which threatened to get out of hand in Sharrow in Sheffield, drivers failing to pay for fuel in Monk Bretton, and a large drunken man collapsed in Ecclesall Road.
A man reported being chased by another man with a large knife in Conisbrough, and a 13-year-old girl refused to come home from a neighbour’s house in Woodlands, Doncaster.
There were reports of trouble outside a pub in Kiveton, the theft of Christmas presents during a burglary at a house in Hurlfield, criminal damage in Treeton, and reports of a man and woman threatening a shopkeeper at a supermarket in Wath.
To add to the list there were drunks in Darnall, festive fights in Frecheville, brawling in Barnsley, rowdiness in Rotherham and drug swoops in Doncaster.
One of the most ‘re-tweeted’ incidents was the death of a cat which had been hit by two vehicles in Sheffield.
Superintendent Peter Norman was responsible for the #SYtweetmas experiment, and said: “During the build-up to Christmas and continuing over the festive and New Year period, South Yorkshire Police see an increased demand for calls for service.
“The information being raised through Twitter will raise awareness of the diverse and complex role of policing.
“This will hopefully enable the public to see, on one of the busiest periods, how much time and resources officers spend policing and keeping the community safe over the festive period.
“It was extremely busy across the county but we had a good plan in place.
“There were no serious incidents and no serious injuries, although we did have quite a few arrests across the county.”
Twitter users rated the initiative a huge success.
Mandy Welbourn tweeted: “Pity this isn’t done every day so people can see the extent of what you have to deal with on a daily basis.”