Police launch new campaign to tackle violence

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Nottinghamshire Police has launched a new campaign to tackle violent crime.

This forms part of our strategy on violent crime and encompasses hate crime, robbery, domestic violence, and crime which take place during the Night Time Economy and in Public Spaces.

Although we have seen an overall reduction in crime in recent years numbers of violent crime have started to rise. Last year, between July 2012 to June 2013, there were 13,217 instances of violent crime.

Of these 7,106 resulted in injury.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Torr said: “We don’t want to alarm people, the number of murders and attempted murders are decreasing, but every single one of those 13,217 is one victim too many.

“Our priority is violent crime. We want it reducing year on year and eventually our ambition is for Nottinghamshire to be the safest place in the country.

“The bottom line is that violence is unacceptable.

“Nottinghamshire has much to offer on a night out, it has a vibrant city and there are lots of good bars and clubs. We want people to come and have a good time and not have their night ruined because they have become a victim or an offender of violent crime.

“We have led on campaigns such as One Punch before and the impact this can have. One punch can lead to two lives ruined, or two lives ended. What started as a silly disagreement can lead to death for one and a significant prison sentence for the other.

“A lot of the issues are related to alcohol. Our campaign and our activity will focus on this.”

There are three weeks of action planned over the next few months.

The first is next week – alcohol, night time economy and public spaces, the second week is hate crime, and third is robbery although night time economy and public spaces will also feature heavily throughout the campaign.

There are real issues with alcohol and particularly pre-loading. This is where people buy strong alcohol and get drunk before they go out.

Mr Torr said: “Our figures show that people that ‘pre-load’ are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in violence as a victim or an offender. They are also four times more likely to consume over 20 units in a single night.

“Worryingly 50 per cent of 18 – 35 year-olds pre-load on a Friday or Saturday night

“People need to take greater responsibility for themselves and their friends to reduce the likelihood of them becoming injured, a victim or involved in violence.

“Drinking so much that you can’t think clearly makes you vulnerable and more likely to become a victim of crime, be injured or be involved in violence.

“This is part of a national issue but something we are looking to address in Nottinghamshire. We’re not kill-joys but we argue that to have a good night out you don’t have to be so drunk you don’t know what you are doing.

“We work well with partners to ensure licensed premises are well run, there are staff on the doors and we work hard to keep you safe.”

The difference in this campaign is that we are asking as many people as possible to join us. It is not just the police telling you violence is unacceptable – we want members of the public to join us, along with businesses, sports teams, parents, schools – everyone who can help raise awareness of this issue.

We want retailers to be careful who they sell to hence why we support the anti-super strength campaign, we want people to have confidence to report hate crime. Domestic Violence needs to be as unacceptable as drink driving has become. If we get this right we prevent other serious offences occurring further along the line.

Part of our action in the coming weeks will include licensing teams carrying out checks, patrols of violent microbeats, offender management, repeat victim focus, engaging with neighbourhoods and communities, welcoming people coming into the city at bus and train stations, engaging with hen and stag party groups at hotels, a lot of preventative work and linking in with students.

Education and early intervention is key. We also participate in the alcohol diversion scheme. This is when we can offer an alcohol referral course for people given a ticket for being drunk and disorderly. This reduces the cost of the fine they have to pay and hopefully helps to change their behaviour.

We are also going to be naming and shaming anyone who is charged with alcohol-related or violent crime in the next weeks and again we hope this makes people think twice about their actions.

Learning from victims is another way of getting the message across and we have a number of victims that are supporting our campaign. There is a hard hitting video by Brian Hogan whose life was transformed after one punch in Nottingham in 2009.

Mr Torr added: “What we want is for you to join our campaign, build on this brand and critically when you are on a night out and put in a situation that could lead to violence we want you to stop, think, and walk away.”