On a night out

 Fights ruin lives. Think about the consequences and #walkaway

Video transcript

  • Fights ruin lives. Think about the consequences and #walkaway video transcript

    Words spoken by unnamed neurosurgeon

    Loud music.

    Most of these punches, and these things, do take place in an area where you are having confrontation. Most of them we get through A&E are pubs and bars, outside the pubs, when the drinking bars are over, so in a way you are not in your senses, your balance is not right, so even with a small punch you can lose your balance and land on  your concrete floor, you can have injury, which when it doesn’t look serious or need an operation, can really affect your brain in the sense that the wiring gets disrupted and then that can lead to a long-term problem.

    Long-term injury, even if you have a minor injury, if you affect the part of the brain which is part of your thinking, so just frontal lobes, you can take some time up to six months to get back up to functioning level. So small amount of injury what it does with the connections of the brain, the connections of the brain get disrupted, so to wire them back, as we say, if you take an example of your brain, like your wiring in your house, if there is a disruption in the wiring, then you have to put them back to where they start and end, so it is like a mismatch of the wires and the fuse, so that happens in the brain. So to rematch them to where they are it takes up to in minor injuries can take up to six weeks, a few months, in major injuries, can take a life long, which is why the brain rehabilitation which is most important for these people to reintegrate back into society can take a long time, and we need the help of psychologists, we need the help of brain surgeons if we need to do an operation and things like that on the brain.

    Loud music.

    In the short-term, they have significant problems with their short-term memory, they tend to forget what they did. It’s almost like dementia, so you tend to forget what you are doing, you tend to forget did you have your breakfast, you tend to forget what you ate. Then there is memory retention problems, so think about someone doing some mental or even physical work, if they forget what they are doing, they will end up having more mistakes in their work, they will be lots of mood swings, they can be aggressive, they can be very tired, halfway through they can fall asleep during the daytime, day-to-day life is affected, and with someone with significant injury that can continue for months to years, and sometimes lifelong. And one more thing is, if you get injury to the head, you can have obviously injury to parts of the brain which control things such as your hand movement, your leg movement, your face movement, I was initially talking about memory, but you can have stroke related to head injury where you have weakness on one side or you can have weakness of both hands or both legs, depending on where the injury is, and rarely you can have seizures which can continue to form epilepsy, so think about that, someone who has even a minor injury who develops seizures and epilepsy means lifelong care for the patient.

Plan your journey home before going out

  • It's best to book a taxi in advance. If you haven't, always get a taxi from a taxi rank or taxi office.
  • Don't walk home on your own after an evening out.
  • Always leave a club or pub with a friend or group of friends. Let someone know where you are and what time you'll get home.
  • Arrange a lift home with a family member, husband, wife, partner, or a friend. You could also stay over at a friend’s house.
  • If no-one you know can pick you up, call a reliable, licensed taxi service.
  • Before you get in a taxi, check the name of the person they have come to collect and the destination. Don't volunteer the information first.
  • If you do use public transport to get home, try to sit near the driver. Don't sit on an empty upper deck. If someone pesters you, tell the driver or guard - they can get help by radio, phone or alarm if necessary. View more details on staying safe on public transport (opens new window).
  • Avoid walking alone at night (this applies to men and women). If you have no choice, stick to busy well-lit areas.
  • Avoid dark pathways, alleyways, subways and car parks. Avoid dimly-lit and deserted areas.
  • Do you know what to do if you're being followed?

 Fights ruin lives. Think about the consequences and #walkaway

Video transcript

  • Fights ruin lives. Think about the consequences and #walkaway video transcript

    Words spoken by unnamed Detective Inspector

    Sentencing will depend upon the severity of the offence. Generally we have public order offences which are the lower end of the scale through to common assault, assault causing actual bodily harm and assault causing grievous bodily harm which is the most serious. Generally, with a common assault, if you were found guilty then you could expect a conditional discharge, community service, and/or a fine. If you move up to injuries where people have been injured, for example, an ABH, could be a broken nose, for instance, then that would be clearly more severe, and the sentencing power then  could go to the Crown Court, and you could get a custodial sentence for a period of time. Then, moving into GBH which is split into Section 20 which is without intent and Section 18 which is with intent, which is the most serious. For a GBH Section 20 we are maybe looking at two, three or four years. For a Section 18 there is a maximum of life imprisonment, and that will be sentencing before the judge and that clearly is a very serious offence.

    Following the conviction of a violent crime the consequences can be particularly significant on the victim as well as the suspect. For the suspect, if they worked in the public sector, or the army for instance, they could actually lose their job, it is something that we would look at for a conviction of any offence, it would come up on a CRB check, if they did want to, I don’t know, be a teacher, work in schools, at any time, or perhaps run a football or a youth club later on in life. Visas for working and living in Australia, America and Canada, it would be very difficult to get a visa to work and live with a violent crime offence. Looking also at the impact closer a bit to home. It can have a significant impact on your partner, whether it be your wife, your girlfriend, or your partner, and they may well see you in a different light, and I know in the past it has led to breakdown in marriages, and relationships. And clearly there is the impact of guilt. You may well have been drinking out with your mates and had one or two pints too many, you have gone outside in the fresh air, and for whatever reason you have been involved in a fight where someone has been seriously hurt. It may be out of character for you however these are consequences that you may well have to live with for the rest of your life.

    A criminal conviction for a violent crime if we are talking about an adult, which is someone over 18, that will be there for life, so any job application, if you have to say you have a criminal conviction then the answer is yes clearly because you have. A caution lasts for up to three years, however, after three years that will fall off but it is still retained on the police database. If you were to apply as I said before for the CRB checks to work with children, as a teacher, run the youth football group that would come up and would prevent you from doing so.

Safer drinking tips

  • Make sure you have something to eat before a night out – never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Drink water regularly before, during and after a night out.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water.
  • Decide in advance how much you are going to drink and stick to your limit.
  • Avoid ‘rounds’ – they can encourage you to drink more than you want to.
  • Have something to eat during the evening – this helps to slow down alcohol absorption.
  • Both men and women are at risk of having their drink ‘spiked’ (this is when drugs or extra alcohol are added to your drink without your knowledge).
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers and never leave your drink unattended.
  • Beware of strangers being overly friendly in bars, clubs and large gatherings.
  • During the night, keep an eye on your mates. Stick together so that you can look after each other.
  • Make sure that your cash, mobile phone and personal items are not on display.
  • Keep your coat and bag where you can see them - some clubs have a cloakroom where they will look aftery your coat and bag.