POLICE Scotland has launched its national four-week ‘One Punch Can Ruin Two Lives’ campaign.
The campaign, which forms part of ‘Safe Summer’, urges people to think about the long-term consequences of their actions and consider that alcohol is often a factor in these incidents.
Twelve per cent of recorded violent crime in Scotland in 2015/16 involved a single punch, it has been revealed.
Launching the campaign at Glasgow’s Garage nightclub, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “Drinking too much can make you vulnerable and it increases your risk of becoming a victim of crime or getting into trouble.
“One punch can kill and could result in you facing a jail sentence. I want people to enjoy their nights out but at the same time to drink responsibly and consider how much alcohol they are consuming – and the effect it has on their decision-making and judgment.”
The ‘One Punch Can Ruin Two Lives’ campaign will see Police Scotland working closely with partners including licensed premises and the NHS to urge people to consider the consequences and change their behaviour.
Posters and advertising will be displayed in bars and clubs, at ATMs, and other public locations.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said: “Identifying and tackling the root causes of crime and the issues that cause harm in our communities is a responsibility for the police, our partners and communities.
“The ‘One Punch’ campaign is part of the ‘Safe Summer – Action Against Violence’ campaign and I am encouraged by this initiative to reduce the number of violent incidents and improve the safety and wellbeing of individuals and communities.”
The director of Medics Against Violence, Dr Christine Goodall, said that “one punch” can be enough to take a life or result in permanent and life-changing disability.
She said: “This not only affects the victim and their family but leaves the perpetrator facing a long prison sentence with their future and that of their family also significantly affected. There are no winners.”
Donald MacLeod, chair of the National Licensed Trade Partnership (NLTP), said that the newly-formed NLTP is “more than happy to lend its support to Police Scotland’s anti-violence and responsible drinking campaign”.
“While it has never been safer for the general public to visit a restaurant, pub or club to enjoy a night out with family or friends, acts of violence and crimes associated with alcohol are still a national concern, particularly for local communities,” he commented.
“As such, the NLTP fully supports any rational targeted campaign, including this one, which promotes responsible drinking of alcohol and highlights the dangers, damage and suffering that can occur when someone has one drink too many and throws ‘One Punch’.”
At Alcohol Focus Scotland, chief executive Alison Douglas said: “With more than half of violent crime in Scotland linked to alcohol, this campaign delivers a really important message. Binge drinking can cause people to lose self-control and situations can quickly escalate with devastating consequences.”
The campaign is supported by the charity Every Action Has Consequences which was launched by the family of Adam Rogers who was killed as a result of one punch in 2009.
Pat Rogers, Adam’s mother and co-founder of the charity, said: “One punch killed our lovely son when he was trying to act as a peacemaker. We fully support this campaign – it is so important to get the message across loud and clear that one punch is too many.”