POLICE chiefs are warning Christmas revellers against drinking too much in bars and clubs in the hope of preventing drunken fights and tragic deaths.
Superintendent Peter Norman, launching the annual police crackdown on drink-fuelled crime over the festive season, warned young people on nights out across South Yorkshire to think about the potential deadly consequences of mixing drink with violence.
He said too many people are killed as a result of alcohol-fuelled violence and warned that one punch alone was all it took to face a murder or manslaughter charge.
“How often do we read about tragic deaths where a person has been punched once, fallen, banged their head and died?
“A single death is one too many,” he said.
His plea was echoed by the fiancee of 31-year-old Nathan Bagley, of Brincliffe, Sheffield, who died after an unprovoked attack outside the DQ Bar on Fitzwilliam Street in Sheffield city centre the early hours of October last year.
He was punched, fell backwards and smashed his head on the ground, fracturing his skull.
Tamsin Lloyd-James, aged 29, said: “What happened to Nathan is proof just one punch can change so many lives.
“We will never get him back and Nathan’s family and I will never get over it.
“Literally a split second decision to strike out at Nathan changed so many lives forever.
“The guy who did this to Nathan had a significant amount of alcohol that night and his actions should serve as a warning of what can happen.”
Supt Norman said: “The aim of this year’s campaign is raise awareness among young people that drinking too much alcohol this festive period can have life lasting consequences for themselves and others.
“Alcohol is seen as a way to relax by many people, but it can also give people confidence to do and say things they wouldn’t ordinarily dream about.
“It also brings out the worst in people - argumentative, aggressive and insulting behaviour.
“This mix can lead to violent confrontations, whether that is in the pub, a nightclub, a taxi queue or at home.
“We want all our communities to enjoy themselves during the festive period however, anyone who drinks too much and becomes disorderly or behaves in an anti-social manner will be dealt with firmly.
“Officers can immediately arrest people or if appropriate, issue £80 fixed penalty notices on the spot.”
He said extra patrols had been ordered in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster at peak shopping times and at pubs and clubs in the run up to Christmas and New Year.