Could you live with yourself if you killed or seriously injured someone on a night out?
That’s the reality for more than 130 people across the Dyfed-Powys Police area, whose Christmas drinks led to a serious assault last year.
The force has today launched a campaign highlighting the personal cost of violent behaviour – to the victims, their families, and the offenders themselves – as it works to reverse the increasing trend of alcohol-related assaults.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Phil Rowe said: “Violence against the person has been on the rise year-on-year since 2015, and our figures show that a large proportion of assaults are alcohol-related.
“With more people out enjoying the festive season in December and January, we see a dramatic rise in assaults at this time of year.
“This is not something we believe is unique to Dyfed-Powys, but it is something we are working very hard to combat.”
Each year since 2015, Dyfed-Powys Police has recorded an average of 87 alcohol-related serious assaults over the three-week peak Christmas and New Year season.
This figure rises to 120 when the timeframe is widened to include the whole month of December.
“It’s undeniable that the number of violent incidents has a huge impact on police resources,” T/DCI Rowe said.
“But more importantly, each of these assaults affects people’s lives.
“There are victims who remain in hospital months after being assaulted, and others who every day have to live with ongoing effects of the injuries they sustained.
“Then there are their partners, parents, children and friends, who suffer the burden of worry while they recover – or worse, who might now be preparing for another Christmas without their loved one.”
Of all the assaults recorded by Dyfed-Powys, one-fifth are marked as alcohol-related. While this is already higher than average for all crime types, investigators believe the proportion of incidents where alcohol is a factor could be even greater.
As part of the force’s Christmas campaign – Just Walk Away – T/DCI Rowe is urging people to think before they act on a night out.
“The consequence of assaulting someone is life-changing,” he said. “Could you live with going to prison, spending Christmas in custody, and the emotional weight of knowing your actions seriously injured or even killed someone?
“If you get into a confrontational situation on a night out, please be the bigger person and just walk away.”