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Help your mates to walk away – that’s the message from West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, as part of a new campaign.

The We Walk Away campaign aims to prevent deaths and serious injuries caused when things get out of control on a night out.

An assault – or murder – doesn’t always mean a long fight or a sustained attack. A single punch or the use of a weapon can result in death or serious injury.

The new campaign encourages self-control, support from friends and for men to walk away from heated situations, before other people become violent.

It also calls on friends and bystanders to help de-escalate situations, when it’s safe to.

The campaign offers tips to prevent violence on a night out:

•            Keep an eye out for your mates. You know them best, but if they’re staring, shouting or squaring up, it’s a definite sign to get them to walk away.

•            A quick apology. We’re often not our best selves when we’re drunk. A quick apology on behalf of a friend can help clear up a misunderstanding before things can kick off.

•            Step in. If you feel safe, you can step in and make eye contact with your mate. It can make it easier to talk them down.

•            Ask for help. If there are other mates out with you, get them to give you a hand. The more people that stand up and step in, the more likely things will calm down. If things are getting out of hand, call 999. In a non-emergency you can call 101.

The campaign also features a quiz to find out what role men play in their group of mates.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, said: “I welcome the policing led drive to reduce homicides associated with the night-time economy, particularly over the busy Christmas period. Thankfully, we are seeing homicide rates reducing in numbers across the country, but nevertheless it is vital we stay ahead of emerging trends and threats to ensure the downward trajectory continues.

“This campaign will intensify prevention activity across the Night-Time Economy (NTE), which is particularly welcome given the usual spike in alcohol-fuelled violence over the festive period.

“As Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Joint portfolio lead for Serious Violence and Homicide, I will continue to play my part by raising awareness among the public of the campaign and supporting the Home Office to maximise its impact and effectiveness across our communities.”

Research shows that most incidents are caused by small triggers, something as basic as an error in judgement, a spilled drink, or a rude comment. Offenders and victims are often men aged between 18 and 30, who did not know each other before the interaction.

In most cases, the offender has no criminal background. They tend to happen in busy areas between 11pm and 4am.

Superintendent Shaun Edwards from West Midlands Police Major Crime Unit added: “We want people to enjoy nights out that they remember for all the right reasons.

“A single punch or a wrong choice to take a weapon on a night out can ruin lives and this campaign is part of a range of efforts that we’re making to make nights out safe for everyone.

“We encourage venues, takeaways and other businesses in the night time economy to get involved and support the campaign.”

The campaign has been funded by the Home Office and is being coordinated through the National Police Chiefs Council.

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