For many people, the festive season is a time to relax and enjoy the company of friends, family and loved ones, but for the security industry, it is a time to prepare for the unexpected.
In the world of security insurance, one day is prioritised above all others around Christmas, as it has become somewhat infamous for a spike in claims, personal injuries and crimes, particularly those taking place in nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
That day is the last Friday before Christmas Eve (In 2022 this is the 23rd December), often known as Mad Friday, Black Friday, Frantic Friday, Nasty Friday or Black Eye Friday.
Originally a term used by the NHS and the Police, the term was quickly picked up by private security staff and was a common term in the industry because of the spike in incidents that would seemingly happen just before Christmas.
There is a spike in fights, violent crime, drunken incidents of disorderly behaviour and other anti-social behaviour in December in general and on Mad Friday in particular. Why is this the case?
Why Is Mad Friday So Mad?
There are a few reasons why Mad Friday has developed the reputation that it has, and a lot of it has to do with the freedom associated with the holiday period.
Traditionally, Mad Friday was the last workday of the year, and many offices and workplaces would close early. This meant that more people would go out to pubs and clubs for longer, potentially drink more, and more work Christmas parties would take place in the same place.
All of this would, in turn, translate to more opportunities for potentially disruptive and dysfunctional behaviour, particularly in the form of fights in pubs, clubs and bars.
This ends up putting a strain on public services, particularly the NHS, which has more 999 ambulance calls to respond to that have been caused directly by drunken behaviour.
The answer was a two-pronged response that would prepare for the worst whilst raising greater awareness
The solution was twofold, and the first step was preparation.
Over December in general and Mad Friday in particular, there are far more police and security staff near pubs, clubs and known areas of potential trouble.
Many ambulance services set up portable “drunk tanks” where people can be treated for injuries, alcohol poisoning, and be securely locked away until they settle down or the police can arrive.
In certain places where violence with weapons is a significant problem, temporary metal detectors are placed at the doors of popular venues to stop people from bringing knives into venues to help protect people further, with a zero-tolerance approach to violent behaviour.
The other weapon they had at their disposal was the ability to call people out.
Whilst it had been reported on in news stories for decades, 2013 was the first time police services would publicly address the disproportionate callouts seen on Mad Friday.
Greater Manchester promoted “Mad Manc Friday” across their social media profiles to reveal the embarrassing behaviours of people who got caught up in the spirit and spirits of the moment.
Scarborough’s Police went further and tweeted every 999 call they received to raise awareness of the scale of the work they do.