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NPCC 'Walk Away' campaign aims to address alcohol related violence in the ENTE Published Date: 12/12/2023

Help your mates to walk away. That’s the message of a new campaign being launched by forces around the UK to prevent deaths and serious injuries caused by a person being assaulted on a night out.

A single punch can result in death or serious injury.

The new campaign encourages self-control, support from friends and for men to walk away from heated situations before other people become violent. It also calls on friends and bystanders of potential offenders, as well as members of the public, to de-escalate situations when it’s safe to. The campaign offers tips to prevent violence on a night out.

Keep an eye out for your mates. You know them best, but if they're staring, shouting, or squaring up, it's a definite sign to get them to walk away.

A quick apology. We're often not our best selves when we're drunk. A quick apology on behalf of a friend can help clear up a misunderstanding before things can kick off.

Step in. If you feel safe, you can step in and make eye contact with your mate. It can make it easier to talk them down.

Ask for help. If there are other mates out with you, get them to give you a hand. The more people that stand up and step in, the more likely things will calm down. If things are getting out of hand, call 999. In a non-emergency you can call 101.

The campaign toolkit is available online and  also features a quiz to find out what role men play in their group of mates.

Research shows that most incidents are caused by small triggers, something as basic as an error in judgement, a spilled drink, or a rude comment. Offenders and victims are often men aged between 18 and 30 who did not know each other before the interaction. In most cases, the offender has no criminal background. They tend to happen in busy areas between 11pm and 4am.

The campaign has been funded by the Home Office and is being coordinated through the National Police Chiefs' Council.

Policing Minister Chris Philp said:

 “As we head into the festive season, there will be an increasing number of people out for end of year celebrations. We want everyone to act safely and look out for friends who end up in heated situations which can quickly escalate.

“We’ve seen the tragic consequences that just one punch can have, and that is why we are supporting a new winter homicide initiative delivering police-led preventative activity in high-risk areas and targeted communications to encourage people to walk away from violent situations which can change lives forever.”

Chief Constable Kate Meynell, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Homicide, said:

“The consequences of a drunken fight on a night out can be fatal and inflict life-long consequences for everyone involved. Research shows that these assaults tend to happen for trivial reasons, maybe a rude comment, or even just a spilled drink.

“If you find yourself on a night out and in a heated situation, remember the consequences of violence, and ask yourself is it worth it? Is this worth potentially taking someone’s loved one away from them, and taking yourself away from your own family to serve a prison sentence? Is it worth having a criminal record? It never is.

“Too many lives are ruined, and even lost, to drunken behaviour on nights out across the UK. Our message is simple – if it’s you in the heated situation or a friend, think, de-escalate, and walk away.”

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ (APCC) Serious Violence & Homicide Leads, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner and West Midlands PCC Simon Foster, said:

“We welcome the policing led drive to reduce homicides associated with the night-time economy, particularly over the busy Christmas period. Thankfully, we are seeing homicide rates reducing in numbers across the country, nevertheless it is vital we stay ahead of emerging trends and threats to ensure the downward trajectory continues.

“This campaign will intensify prevention activity across the Night-Time Economy (NTE) which is particularly welcome given the usual spike in alcohol-fuelled violence over the festive period. As APCC portfolio leads for Serious Violence and Homicide, we will continue to play our part by raising awareness among the public of the campaign and supporting the Home Office to maximise its impact and effectiveness across our communities.