Mansfield and Ashfield pubgoers urged to avoid Christmas violence

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POLICE chiefs are urging pubgoers across Mansfield and Ashfield to avoid voilent confrontations as the Christmas party season gets underway.

The message has been issued as part of Nottinghamshire Police’s ‘One Punch’ campaign, which will see leaflets and posters issued to remind people of the potentially deadly consequences of a single punch.

The message seems to have been heard loud and clear, with no confirmed deaths recorded as a result of a punch in Nottinghamshire since the launch of the campaign in December 2011.

The posters have even caught the attention of people on the other side of the world, with South Australia Police, in Adelaide, asking permission to use the campaign artwork for their own ‘one punch’ warnings.

Since 2000, there have been seven confirmed deaths from ‘one punch’ incidents in Nottinghamshire. In 2011 alone, three young men died from a head injury as a result of a single punch.

All those involved were men or teenage boys, with the average age of victims being 25, and the average age of attackers being just 21.

Superintendent Jack Hudson, force lead for violent crime reduction, said: “Throwing a punch can, at worst, cause death or severe brain damage.

“If you seriously injure or kill someone in a fight, whether it was your intention or not, you will be spending time in jail and have the injury or death of your victim on your conscience for life.

“Under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even peer pressure, a person’s judgment and behaviour can become impaired.

“Innocuous disagreements can escalate out of all proportion and, in young men especially, the effects of alcohol can be aggravated further by a heightened sense of bravado.

“We know that, sometimes, these attacks can be quite random — a case of wrong place, wrong time for the victim, who may not even be known to the person who throws the punch.

“Irrespective of the circumstances, know this: there is never any justification for violence.

“Before a Judge there is no excuse or defence against causing serious injury or death during a fight.

“Before a victim’s family there will never be the right words to explain the reason for their loss.

“Look after each other when you are on a night out with your mates. Walk away from potentially violent situations and if you fear for someone else’s safety, call police.”

The leaflets will also be sent to schools, colleges, sports clubs and gyms.