North Yorkshire Police launches campaign raising awareness about one punch killings

Kristian Thompson died aged 19 after being punched in the head during a night out.

North Yorkshire Police has teamed up with the One Punch UK charity to help prevent tragic deaths and life-changing injuries caused by single punches.

The campaign will initially target men aged 18 to 35 at pubs, bars, gyms and sporting clubs over the summer holidays, and again during the festive period.

Then in September, coinciding with One Punch Awareness Week between 18 and 22 September, there will also focus on secondary school children.

In the past year, there have been four such incidents in the county.

North Yorkshire Police says it is determined to reverse this trend by adopting an early intervention and prevention approach.

To achieve this, it has teamed with One Punch UK to increase awareness among younger adults and secondary school children.

Maxine Thompson-Curl, chief executive officer of One Punch UK, is urging revellers and secondary school children alike to “stop, think and walk away” to avoid the consequences of a one punch tragedy.

She and her husband Anthony launched One Punch UK to raise awareness about the issue after her son, Kristian, died aged 19 after being punched in the head during a night out in Consett, County Durham, in September 2010.

The couple, from South Shields, continue to work with families affected by incidents involving one punch, as well as educating thousands of school children on the potentially devastating impact their split-second violent actions could have.

Maxine said: “The ‘Punched Out Cold’ campaign is so important to educate people what a single punch can do and the devastation it can cause.

“The fists at the end of your arms are readily available, and you have to think about what you’re doing as that one decision could ruin a lot of lives – it’s that ripple effect.”

Maxine is also urging licensed premises and bar staff to be more alert to those who may drink to excess – a contributing factor to many one punch assaults.

She said: “The lad who killed Kristian had been out on the drink all day, so we know these incidents usually happen under the influence of alcohol.

“It’s about getting people to know their limits but also have those selling the alcohol to take some responsibility also.

“My main message, and this goes for youngster at school as well, is: Stop, think and walk away.

“Please think about me and the hundreds of other parents we now work with who have lost their children.

“Or those who have to provide round the clock care to their children due to severe brain damage caused by one-punch violence.

“People’s lives are never the same again. Lives are also tragically cut short.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jonathan Sygrove, from North Yorkshire Police’s Major Investigation Team, said: “As police officers, we see first-hand the devastation caused by one punch incidents resulting in serious injuries and death.

“However, the sheer and continuous impact it has on parents, family members and friends, is something that Maxine and One Punch UK can explain in truly heart-breaking detail.

“We are proud that North Yorkshire Police is supporting the ‘Punched Out Cold’ campaign in pubs, bars, gyms and sports clubs across our area. Not only during the summer, but during the festive period too.

“The campaign highlights just how dangerous one punch can be. That in a split second someone can become a killer, and someone can be killed or suffer life-changing injuries.

“We want people to enjoy themselves on nights out across North Yorkshire and the City of York, but you must also be responsible for your own actions.

“Consuming too much alcohol and taking illegal drugs can drastically alter your behaviour.

“If you are faced with a potentially violent confrontation, we wholeheartedly echo Maxine’s and the One Punch UK advice to stop, think and walk away.

“By not acting in anger and 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.”

North Yorkshire Police’s Licensing team and local authority partners will be working closely with pubs and bars about this issue, ensuring that staff members, security teams and customers are aware of the key messages of the campaign.

Neighbourhood Policing Teams will also be distributing ‘Punched Out Cold’ posters and talking to members of gyms and sporting clubs across the force area.

For more information visit One Punch UK | United Kingdom | Charity