1. ITV Report

Busiest night ahead for emergency services this Christmas

Police forces, ambulance crews and hospitals across the Midlands are preparing for their busiest time of year.

West Midlands Ambulance service says it had three thousand emergency calls on Friday night alone.

Alcohol-related violence and cases of anti-social behaviour increase over the festive season, which paramedics and police have to deal with.

On Saturday I spent the night on patrol with Sergeant Simon Finney from West Midlands Police on Broad Street in Birmingham.

It was only after the clock struck midnight, that things began to turn violent Credit: ITV Central

It's usually busy most weekends, but in the run up to Christmas thousands of party-goers fill venues most nights of the week.

The majority of people are out to enjoy themselves, but there's a small minority who end up breaking the law.

Sergeant Finney explained how he manages the officers on duty, and the things they need to look out for.

The obvious offences, he explained to me, are alcohol related, like assaults and being drunk and disorderly. However what struck me were the more unusual crimes being recorded by officers.

Street sellers were routinely checked for their Pedlars Licenses; the correct paperwork they need to have to sell things like roses and flashing trinkets.

In total 17 people were arrested around the city in the entertainment areas, which includes Broad Street and the Arcadian Credit: ITV Central

A group of 15 & 16 year old boys acting suspiciously were moved on shortly after 11 o'clock. as police believed they were pickpockets.

Officers use dispersal orders instead of arrests at first - it's like a yellow card for trouble makers.

It bans those suspected of committing or potentially committing an offence from the area for 24 hours.

In total 17 people were arrested around the city in the entertainment areas, which includes Broad Street and the Arcadian. Most arrests were drugs, violence and alcohol related.

The majority of people are out to enjoy themselves, but there's a small minority who end up breaking the law

It was only after the clock struck midnight, that things began to turn violent. Officers were radioed to attend a fight which had broken out in one of Broad Street's clubs and spilled onto the street.

The majority of assaults and fights break out between 3 and 4 in the morning, as venues empty and people fill the streets to go home.

Although busy on Saturday, Sergeant Finney told me it wasn't exceptionally busy for the time of year.

That will be this coming Friday, which Police call 'Black Friday'.

Sergeant Finney offered this advice if you're planning to go out this weekend.

"If you come out as a group stay as a group, don't drink too much, make sure you all go home together as well and make sure you know your limits."

To cope there'll be extra patrols and paramedics on standby. West Midlands Ambulance will even be setting up a field hospital at the top opposite the Hyatt Hotel, for those who let the festive spirit get the better of them.