BOSTON (AP) – Boston police say they will be greatly stepping up enforcement to control public drinking at next week’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston.

The parade, which draws tens of thousands of participants and spectators, has been marred in recent years by fights and other disruptions that police attribute to excessive drinking.

Last year’s show of about 400 officers will be supplemented at this year’s March 15 event with up to 200 more officers, plus the gang, horse and bicycle units.

Officers also will be stationed outside every liquor store and bar along the parade route to spot underage drinkers.

Police Commissioner Edward Davis also has asked police and fire unions to remind their members visiting from other departments that tippling while marching in the parade also won’t be tolerated.

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