Derry's top police officer Superintendent Gordon McCalmont has asked Christmas revellers to be aware of how 'one punch' attacks can cause death and lead to murder or manslaughter charges.
Superintendent McCalmont was speaking after joining forces with the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) to launch a new Christmas campaign warning of how easily drunken brawls can end up ruining people's lives.
It will see beer mats, which carry the message ‘One Punch Can Kill’ put on tables on pubs throughout Derry and Strabane.
The mats have been funded by Derry & Strabane PCSP and the launch took place in the newly opened Harp Bar in Waterloo Street yesterday.
“Our message is that our city and town centres are safe places to socialise but just one punch can ruin many lives. We aren’t out to spoil anyone’s fun, but we want to get the message out there that 'one punch' attacks can and do happen," he said.
“Unfortunately the majority of ‘one punch’ incidents are fuelled by excessive alcohol consumption and can have a devastating impact on the victim and their family. In such cases the offender will likely face a murder or manslaughter charge and have a criminal record for the rest of their life.
"This type of conviction can impose significant restrictions on an individual’s future. Raising awareness of the dangers of 'one punch' incidents is important and that is why we pleased to be working with the PCSP in this way,” he added.
Alderman Mary Hamilton, Chairperson of the Derry and Strabane PCSP said: “We are delighted to support this re-launch of the ‘one punch’ campaign. As more people are be availing of our night-time economy offering over the festive season it is important that they do this in a sensible and secure manner.
“I would commend our local bar owners on the responsible approach they have taken and would advise people to heed the practical advice on the beer mats when out socialising.”