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Issue:- Saturday Night, 19 December 2015

Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 10.

Merry Merseyside nabs Christmas Number 1 Top Spot

EVER wondered which region of the UK is responsible for all those cracking Christmas hits? Thanks to Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI), we now know that the Liverpudlians amongst you are the most likely to come up with a winning festive formula. Since OCSI loves a good map, the company's intrepid research team set about mapping data on the origin of all UK Christmas number one chart toppers from 1952 to 2014; all in the name of science.

Using OCSI's Local Insight tool, which allows you to map any postcode-based data you can think of, the team worked through a list of all UK Christmas number ones, mapping the postcodes of each artist based on their birthplace or childhood home, and how long they spent at number one.

Individual artists were tagged with a single postcode, while collaborative efforts were broken down into individual locations for each band member. Each of these were weighted based on whether the person in question was in a band (for example the weeks at number 1, for every Spice Girls song were each divided by 5).

Several packets of mince pies later, the research team (with the help of the Local Insight tool) had generated a score for each location in the UK, with Liverpool narrowly edging London into 2nd place, with scores of 22 and 21 respectively.

This excellent map shows exactly where in the country these Christmas crackers originated, and how long they lingered on after the tinsel was put back in the attic. Why not see if your home Town is featured?

The darker red patches show the areas where artists spent the most weeks at number 1 and the green patches show artists who spent fewer weeks at number 1. So what gives Liverpool the edge?

Well, it is the birthplace of all four Beatles, who had four Christmas number ones in the 60s. And, as 1⁄5 of the Spice Girls, Liverpool's Mel C had 3 Christmas hits in the 90's.

London didn't do too shabbily either. Home to a fair few bands in their heyday (Pet Shop Boys, Pink Floyd and East 17), it also produced a couple of Spice Girls and a host of X Factor survivalists.

Next on the list is South of London, boosted by the Military Wives, Mr Blobby and comedian Benny Hill, while The Midlands (home to arguably the best Christmas song with Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody') came in a respectable fourth with a couple of members from Queen, and Bob the Builder (of course).

Scotland is represented by Band Aid's Midge Ure and X Factor's Leon Jackson. In Wales we have Tom Jones and Shakin' Stevens and in Ireland there is Westlife, 1 of Girls Aloud (with that classic Christmas song 'Sound of the Underground') and Bob Geldof heading up Band Aid, Band Aid II and Band Aid 20.

For a more detailed analysis of the results and to find out whether your region featured, see OCSI's recent blog post.

Public 'stay safe' guide to firearms and weapons attack

AN information film providing advice on the how to keep safe in the event of a firearms or weapons attack has been released to the public on Friday, 18 December 2015.

The 4 minute film, Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack, sets out three key steps for keeping safe and is freely available online. The film, which has been seen by tens of thousands of people at Police led security briefings, is accompanied by an online information leaflet.

Recent events around the world remind us all of the terrorist threat we face, which in the UK is considered as:- 'SEVERE', meaning an attack is highly likely. Police and security agencies are working tirelessly to protect the public but it is also important that communities remain vigilant and aware of how to protect themselves if the need arises.

The film and leaflet advise that if you are caught up in an incident to:- 'run, hide and tell' - guidance which can be applied to many places and situations. 'RUN' if you can. If you can't run, 'HIDE'. Then, when you can, 'TELL' the Police what's happening so they can get there quickly to stop the threat. Also tell others of the threat so they don't approach danger.

Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe said:- "The release of this video is designed to reassure rather than alarm and people should not feel anxious by its release. While the general level of threat to the UK is severe, the probability of being caught up in a firearms or weapons attack is extremely low. Regardless, it is crucial the public know what to do in the event of such an incident. Our advice has already been issued to tens of thousands of people during Police led security training sessions, but it is only responsible that we issue this public safety guidance more widely. We know that from case studies and the testimony of people who have survived attacks that the advice given in the film has saved lives. With the threat level remaining at a high level, the Police and security service continue to operate at a heightened state of readiness; we are working on hundreds of investigations and making an arrest a day. However, it is only with the ongoing support of communities that we can defeat terrorism; you are our eyes and ears so please be alert, but not alarmed. We are asking everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on:- 0800 789 321 or in an emergency on:- 999."

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