• 77 people arrested in London as 3,000 police officers flood the streets
  • Ambulance crews in the capital receive 2,333 calls
Emergency services were inundated with 600 calls an hour last night as revellers up and down Britain drank in 2012.

Paramedics were stretched to the limit and in Cambridge a Territorial Army field hospital was set-up to deal with drunk partygoers.

The London Ambulance Service said at the peak they were dealing with over 600 calls per hour which is more than three times as many as on a normal night.
© Joel Goodman/LNP
Manchester: A man collapses on the pavement next to an ambulance as two revellers walk past eating a late night takeaway

© Joel Goodman/LNP
Manchester: A man is stood slumped over in a doorway as two women walk by as they celebrate the New Year
As people made their way home after seeing in 2012, city centres descended into violence as fights broke out and revellers collapsed on the pavements.

Ambulance crews in London had answered 2,333 calls by 4am this morning while the Metropolitan Police said they had made 77 arrests.

Staff were answering 10 calls every minute just after midnight and 55 people in the capital were taken to hospital.
© North News & Pictures Ltd
Newcastle: Happy New Year! A man is thrown into the back of a police van, head over heels, by three officers

The busiest hour was between 2am and 3am when 638 calls were answered. This is more than three times the average of 180.

However, officers said the crowds were largely good-humoured as an estimated 250,000 people packed The Embankment to watch the fireworks at midnight.

The majority of the arrests were for assault and being drunk and disorderly.

Scotland Yard had 3,000 officers on duty both at street level and on podiums to give them a bird's-eye view of any troublemakers in the crowds.

In the Capital fireworks were launched from Big Ben itself for the first time at midnight to coincide with each strike of the bell.

Big crowds were also seen in other cities, including in Edinburgh for the Hogmanay street party attended by some 80,000 people. More than 20 acts were playing on seven stages ahead of the midnight fireworks display.

Assistant Director of Operations John Hopson, who led the Service's response on New Year's Eve, said: 'Demand on the Service in the early hours was extremely high and a lot of that extra demand was because of alcohol-related calls.

'At the busiest point of the night, our staff were taking 638 emergency calls an hour - that's an increase of 255per cent on what they would expect to deal with on a normal night.'
© SWNS.com
Cambridge: A New Year reveller drinks some water as she is helped by TA volunteers in a tent hospital after a night out celebrating

© Mercury Press/Media Ltd
Liverpool: Two men fight in the city centre as police officers try and break it up

'We had to prioritise calls to make sure the most seriously ill and injured patients got help as quickly as possible - that meant more patients than normal with minor illnesses and injuries were given advice over the telephone rather than automatically being sent an ambulance.'

Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry said: 'The spectacle of New Year's Eve in central London attracts many thousands of people every year.

'This year is particularly special with the UK playing host to the 2012 Olympic Games and the Queens Diamond Jubilee.

'We saw very large crowds converge on central London, especially in and around the viewing areas where people came to get a good view of the world class firework display.

'Such large crowds create a challenging policing environment and our officers worked hard, alongside the stewards, to keep people safe and ensure they could get home again at the end of the night.

'Crowds were good humoured and there were no major issues reported to police.

'Our officers will continue to work into the night to aid peoples return home safely, to ensure the area returns to normality and roads can reopen to make way for the New Year's Day parade.'
© D Legakis Photography/Athena
Collapse: One woman slumps over the steps clutching a bottle of wine