With the festive period here, St Helens Council and its community safety partners are underlining the link between too much alcohol and its potentially lethal consequences through the One Punch Can Kill campaign.
As always during this time of year, there is an increase in the number of people heading out into town to celebrate Christmas and New Year, so in response, police patrols will be stepped up and officers will work closely with council CCTV operators to ensure residents and town centre visitors stay safe.
On a local level, there is added emphasis on this year’s campaign following the death of two men in separate incidents.
Back in July, community champion Len ‘Banana’ Saunders, 65, died in hospital nine days after being punched by a drunken teenager on Ward Street – while a 60-year-old man from Liverpool died on Tuesday this week (5 December) just days after an altercation on Baldwin Street.
This year’s campaign will again be supported by local radio station, Wish FM – whose series of adverts have been awarded by UTV Media for their creativity, along with posters for bars and clubs and messages on social media.
St Helens Council’s cabinet member for community safety, Councillor Lisa Preston said:
“Everyone enjoys a night out, especially at Christmas, and no one wants to ruin the fun. But, the actions of a small minority can ruin Christmas festivities for everyone else and we want people to enjoy themselves while out in the town centre – especially at this time of year.
“The whole community was shocked and saddened to hear about the two fatal incidents that took place in our town centre this year which have had devastating impacts on the victims’ families, and is something we certainly don’t want to see happen on our streets again.
“It’s important to remember that alcohol affects us all in different ways and just one too many can turn a great night out into a tragedy.”
St Helens Local Policing Inspector Matt Drennan said: “Merseyside Police fully supports the ‘One Punch’ campaign. A seemingly innocuous disagreement people have whilst drunk can have devastating consequences for the victim, their families and friends, so people need to look after themselves and those they are out with over the festive period, and all year round.
“There will be extra police in St Helens to ensure that, for the vast majority of people who want to celebrate this festive period, their night is as safe as possible.”
St Helens Council is also supporting a regional awareness campaign this winter about the alcohol laws some people forget.
DrinkLessEnjoyMore reminds people that it is illegal to serve someone who is drunk and it is illegal to buy a drink for someone who is drunk.
If you are drunk, you could be refused service at a bar or club, and if you buy a drink for someone who is drunk you personally could be fined £1,000.
Merseyside Police are actively enforcing these laws in St Helens, where bar staff have been engaged in the awareness campaign, and cautionary posters, beer mats and bar runners are being displayed.
Make it a night to remember for the right reasons! Here are some tips to keep you safe:
· Don’t drink on an empty stomach
· Stay in control: The Chief Medical Officer recommends 2-3 units for both men and women
· Think about alternating alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
· Stay hydrated: drink water before you go out, and during the night
· Don’t leave your drinks unattended
· Avoid trouble: alcohol can reduce your ability to think straight and affect the way you process information. Don’t be drawn into arguments or problems, walk away!
· Plan your night: tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back. Book a taxi before you go out and take the taxi firm’s details
*a pint of lower-strength lager, beer or cider (ABV 3.6%) is 2 units
a single shot (25ml) of spirits (ABV 40%) is 1 unit
a standard glass (175ml) of red, white or rose wine (ABV 12%) is 2 units
For more information about the One Punch Can Kill campaign, visit: www.safersthelens.org.uk
Reduce the chances of your night getting cut short. For more information on DrinkLessEnjoyMore, visit www.drinklessenjoymore.co.uk