Following on from the success of the hate crime campaign, I’m Not Laughing, an initiative has been launched in Bolton to raise awareness of and reduce violent crime.
On Friday 3 August, 2012, 15 young people from Bolton Lads & Girls Club National Citizen Service (NCS) programme joined forces with police and Bolton Council Community Safety Services and Bolton Lads and Girls Club to show a united approach against violence.
Five hundred young people have already attended training sessions influenced by the Every Action has Consequences charity, which was set up following the tragic one punch killing of Adam Rogers in Blackburn three years ago.
During the sessions, Dave Rogers, father of Adam Rogers, spoke to young people about the death of his son. The young people also watched a DVD produced by the charity while police officers spoke to them about sentencing and criminal records for violent offences.
Some of the NCS youngsters who have attended the workshops have been inspired to work with both organisations as part of their social action project, a part of the programme that allows youngsters to help make a difference to their local community by raising awareness of issues that affect their town.
To celebrate the success of the programme and officially launch the campaign, a marquee was set up in Victoria Square on Friday 3 August between 12pm and 6pm. Volunteers from the NCS handed out leaflets to residents, sold wrist bands and CDs and held dance demonstrations.
The bars in Bolton Town Centre are supporting the campaign by displaying posters while bar staff will wear t-shirts and badges demonstrating that violence will not be tolerated.
Meanwhile large flags were displayed and advertising boards within the town centre continue to display the campaign.
The campaign was launched by Sergeant Paul Ellis following on from its success in other areas.
Sergeant Paul Ellis said: “People don’t realise just how serious violent crime can be. The fist is very a powerful weapon and unfortunately, as we’ve seen in the very tragic case of Adam Rogers, it only takes one punch to kill.
“During the last few weeks we’ve been appealing to young people to think about their actions, avoid trouble and try not to get into arguments or vulnerable situations. By keeping control of your temper and walking away you could avoid destroying your own life or that of others.
“We are all really proud of Bolton Town Centre. It’s a great place to work, live and visit and we are determined to keep it that way.”
Kayleigh Dewhurst, Senior Youth Worker at Bolton Lads & Girls Club said: “Getting our NCS young people involved with Every Action Has Consequences helps to raise awareness of just literally how every action they make, when alcohols is involved, can have a massive impact upon themselves and others. Ensuring that our youngsters are aware of their actions is and its effect on the local community is an important part of NCS.”
Councillor Derek Burrows, Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “We’ve had great success with previous partnership campaigns and we hope that this campaign will encourage young people to think through the consequences of their actions and to stay out of trouble.”