Stop! Think. Walk Away: Don’t get ‘Punched Out Cold’ this Christmas
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North Yorkshire Police’s ‘Punched Out Cold’ homicide reduction campaign is continuing over the festive season to help prevent tragic deaths and life-changing injuries in the night-time economy.
The campaign, supported by the One Punch UK charity, was launched ahead of the summer holidays and initially targeted men aged 18 to 35 in pubs, bars, gyms and sporting clubs.
It has featured a series of tragic case studies, revealing the true devastation caused to victims and their loved ones.
The key message is to “Stop, think and walk away” from potential violent confrontations.
In September, coinciding with ‘One Punch Awareness Week’ between 18 and 22 September, the force’s School Liaison Team began delivering special assemblies to secondary school students.
So far, more than 5,000 students have experienced the hard-hitting presentation which forms part of North Yorkshire Police’s early intervention and prevention approach to tackling violent crime.
Now, as we head towards the Christmas period, the Major Investigation Team and Licensing team are again focussing attention on the night-time economy where alcohol and drugs can have a detrimental impact on behaviour.
T/Detective Superintendent Jonathan Sygrove, from the Major Investigation Team, said:
“We want people to enjoy themselves on nights out in North Yorkshire and the City of York this Christmas, but you must be responsible for your own actions.
“Our ‘Punched Out Cold’ campaign is highlighting just how dangerous a violent response can be on a night out.
“Tragic incidents are often sparked by something innocuous such as a spilled drink, accidently banging into someone on the dance floor, or an angry exchange of words while queuing for a night club, at a takeaway or while waiting for a taxi.
“When excessive consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs are thrown into the mix, people can very quickly lose control and lash-out with a fist or a headbutt.
“Often, it is the fall to the ground that causes the catastrophic damage to the victim. Whether they end up dying or brain damaged for life, the misery for their loved ones is unrelenting.
“If you kill or seriously injure someone in these circumstances, you can expect to go to prison and lose your job. Your life will never be the same again.
“If you or one of your friends are faced with a potentially violent confrontation, we fully support the One Punch UK advice to ‘stop, think and walk away’.
“By taking control rather than lashing out, it could well be the best decision you have ever made - for everyone concerned.
“Please remember, just one punch can destroy so many lives. Including your own.”
Look out for the ‘Punched Out Cold’ posters, beer mats and digital display truck
Our Licensing team is working closely with local authority partners and businesses in the night-time economy in support of the ‘Punched Out Cold’ campaign.
As well as their regulatory role to ensure managers of licensed premises are operating legally and safely, they are also liaising with bar and security staff about recognizing the signs of heated situations which may require intervention before a tragic incident occurs.
‘Punched Out Cold’ posters and beer mats are being distributed by Licensing officers with support from Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
A digital display truck will also be at key locations to draw attention to the campaign with the aim of having a positive influence on behaviour.
This Saturday (2 December), it will be in Harrogate town centre from 3pm to 6pm and York city centre from 7pm to 11pm.
Sergeant Tom Stoffel, from the Licensing team, said:
“We receive outstanding support from the vast majority of licensed premises in York and across North Yorkshire. We share a common goal of wanting to keep customers safe while they enjoy the best that our night-time economy venues have to offer.
“Through working together, we can help to stop these heated incidents from spiralling out of control and potentially save lives.
“When things become heated, it is best to walk away.”