A group of St. Patrick's Day revellers lined up outside of The Ceeps on Richmond Row, March 17, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

Call For Calm, Respectful St. Patrick’s Day

With St. Patrick’s Day just days away, London police and student leaders are urging green-clad revellers to keep a lid on celebrations.

London police, the Western University Students’ Council, and the Fanshawe Student Union issued the joint call on Monday for students to follow the schools’ code of conduct and the law during the Irish holiday.

“We encourage all students to be respectful, courteous and to be good citizens, whether you are hosting or going to a party, or celebrating at one of London’s bars,” said Morganna Sampson, Fanshawe Student Union president.

Traditionally, partiers begin trickling into the downtown before noon on St. Patrick’s Day, forming long lines outside of Richmond Row bars. The influx of people tends to spill into the streets as the day wears on. In student neighbourhoods around Western and Fanshawe, house parties can quickly escalate into loud street gatherings.

It was at one of those house parties on Fleming Dr. in 2012 where celebrations turned into a riot. More than 1,000 drunk partiers began hurling objects at police and set a TV news truck on fire. During the five St. Patrick’s days that have followed, police have moved to quash any potential repeat of the public safety nightmare and this year will be no exception.

“We will be directing significant resources to areas of the city that have historically been problematic for large street gatherings to keep the peace and maintain order,” said Deputy Chief Steve Williams, in a statement. “We will be fair and want people to have a good time, but we will be enforcing the law. Public safety is our number one priority.”

Officers will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to underage drinking, drinking in public, and public intoxication.

The forecast for the first St. Patrick’s Day to fall on a Saturday in six years promises to be a mild one. Environment Canada is forecasting sunshine with a daytime high of 5 C.