A RISE in violent crime has prompted Cumbria Police to issue a warning to Christmas party goers to prevent them spending the festive period behind bars.

Over the past six months (June to November), Cumbria has seen a 23 per cent increase in violent crimes, compared with the same period last year.

To make people think about the consequences of violence as they head out to celebrate the festive cheer, Cumbria Police will be releasing a series of ‘Don’t spend Christmas with the cops’ messages across social media, running from today (December 7) to New Year’s Eve.

These short film clips will feature officers who, year after year, have been called to incidents which have started off as a fun Christmas night out for all, but ended up in a violence.

Superintendent Justin Bibby said: “What we certainly don’t want to do is tell people not to have fun – everyone deserves to enjoy Christmas and take the opportunity to celebrate with friends and family.

“While the majority of people do act sensibly, there are unfortunately others who become violent. These people can see their nights take a dramatic turn from the good time they hoped to have.

“Do you really want to spend your Christmas in one of our cells? Or worse, in hospital? Or do you want to spoil the next night out because you are banned from all pubs across the county?

“We hope that our Christmas messages, which will come from a range of different officers, will make people think more about these possibilities. These are situations which could easily be avoided if those involved walked away from a situation before it got to the point of violence.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “Christmas is a key time for families and friends to get together and enjoy themselves, and this campaign isn’t about putting a stop to that.

“However, it is about asking people to behave responsibly and not overdo it to the extent that the fun descends into violence, with all the potential negative consequences that might bring.

"I hope everyone can have a great time but show respect to those around them including everyone doing their best to keep them safe.”