THIS WEEK IN 2000: Police were ready for the worst but it was all smiles in the end

PC Andy Wright makes some new friends among the revellers enjoying a night out at Old Portsmouth
PC Andy Wright makes some new friends among the revellers enjoying a night out at Old Portsmouth
Broken down on the hill. A different angle to Tuesdays photograph and we can see the RAC/AA man attending the car on the left. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: Breakdown or accident on Portsdown Hill?

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It was a night that put a smile on the face of every police officer in Portsmouth.

With more than 200 of them patrolling the streets of the city, they were prepared for the worst.

But as the new millennium dawned, police chiefs were heralding a successful operation.

In the run-up to midnight, officers said the city was quieter than on a typical Friday night.

Just nine prisoners were being held in cells at Portsmouth Central Police Station – most for drunkenness and assaults earlier in the day.

Most revellers converged on Guildhall Square and in Old Portsmouth, leaving the usually bustling seafront area virtually deserted.

As the clock chimed midnight, officers and firefighters on duty were swamped with hugs and kisses from the good-natured crowds.

‘It’s not an occasion for confrontation – it’s an occasion for celebration,’ said Inspector Keith Brown.

‘This was a very difficult one to call which is why we had to be prepared for the worst.

‘But it has been far less busy than anticipated and is much less busy than last year’s New Year’s Eve.’