Police officers will be on the streets of Preston until 5am during the biggest security operation in Lancashire for 20 years.
Hundreds of officers will be stationed at events and throughout the city centre during Preston’s 2012 Guild celebrations.
Visible patrols will be stationed in the city during the major processions and big events on Avenham Park. Officers will be around until 5am to ensure revellers get home safely.
And next Saturday (September 8), officers will be on the streets until 6am because police chiefs believe that will be the busiest night of the event.
Both the Torchlight Procession and the G-Fest concert will be held that day.
Chief Supt James Lee, Preston’s most senior police officer and the event’s gold commander, said: “From Saturday (September 1) through to the following Sunday will be the main thrust of the policing operation.
“We will not have nearly as many officers as 20 years ago because things have moved on. We don’t have the responsibility for traffic management and stewarding like we did then.
“But our staff will be at all events trying to make it as enjoyable as possible for the people of Preston and people visiting.
“On the busiest days people can expect police presence until five in the morning.
“This is the biggest thing Lancashire has done in 20 years. We are expecting hundreds of thousands of people in Preston over the next two weeks.”
Daily meetings will be held between police chiefs and the council throughout the event.
The demands of the event, which follow major operations involving Lancashire officers at the Olympics and the Open Golf at Lytham, mean all leave has been cancelled during the Guild and extra officers are being drafted in from outside Preston.
“The number of road closures is going to be huge, but we have to make sure that emergency vehicles have access if needed,” added Chief Supt Lee. “This has been one of the most carefully planned events I have ever been involved in.”
At the last Guild in 1992 there were 900 officers involved in the Guild events. This year the number will be less because security firm ShowSec are handling stewarding and a company called RSS will take responsibility for traffic management.
Since the last Guild in 1992, there has been an 81 per cent fall in vehicle crime in Lancashire and a 74 per cent drop in burglaries.
In 1992, Lancashire had 39,930 vehicles crimes and 16,705 domestic burglaries recorded.
During 2011/12, these figures have been reduced to 7,595 and 4,278 respectively.
But Chief Insp Lee, who was a constable during the last Guild, added: “If any individuals think they are going to come into the city centre and cause trouble, they will be dealt with swiftly and fairly.
“We have come a long way as a police force since 1992 and I am very proud of the crime reduction we have achieved over the last 20 years.”