Violent mayhem: Boozy Brits celebrate ‘Mad Friday’

The last working Friday before Christmas is the busiest night of the year in the UK. ©
London was burning last night as revelers took to the streets all across the UK for what has become known as “Mad Friday,” the last working Friday before Christmas and one of the booziest, busiest and most dangerous nights of the year.

The UK is rarely peaceful and sober on a Friday night but “Mad Friday” (which this fell on December 18) always sees a dramatic increase in public drunkenness and offenses as emergency services are stretched to their limits on a peak night for office parties and Christmas celebrations.

More alcohol is sold on Mad Friday in the UK than on any other night of the year. Figures from Public Health England and Alcohol Concern show an increase of 142 percent in alcohol consumption across the UK on the final Friday before Christmas.

Alcohol abuse is a major factor, with related emergencies up by an estimated 50 percent on the night. The London Ambulance Service estimates it responded to 700 alcohol-related injuries alone on Mad Friday this year, a hefty chunk for their overall December figure of 5,000.

Extra police officers were drafted in for the night across the UK to deal with any outbreaks of violence. Injuries and fights are so common that the night is also jokingly referred to as “Black-eye Friday.”

An estimated 300,000 people descended on the center of Manchester for the festivities, with an estimated £15 million spent in bars and restaurants. The chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, said that events were relatively peaceful with only some arrests, but expressed concern at the number of intoxicated women walking home alone.

December is a boozy month for Britain, with an estimated £2.3 billion spent on alcohol. While the rest of Europe has seen a decline in alcohol consumption over the last two decades, the UK has seen a steady increase.

Public Health England are urging people to take up “Dry January,” a month without alcohol to combat the excessiveness of December.