Mick spent 30 years as police officer, starting his career in the Metropolitan Police before transferring to Durham, retiring in 2020.
Whilst in Durham he specialised in Alcohol Harm Reduction and Licensing, focusing on reduction of violence in the night-time economy, student drinking and safety and tackling underage drinking and associated problems.
“After spending two thirds of my career as a 24/7 response officer I felt the time was right for a change and in 2009 was offered the opportunity to take on a brand-new role within Durham and at the time a unique role within policing in England & Wales as an Alcohol Harm Reduction Officer. At the time there was no specific role description and it afforded me the opportunity to create one as the work progressed. My original brief was to look at reduction violence in the night-time economy, but it became apparent that alcohol had a huge impact on demand and working closely with partner agencies the work quickly expanded across all areas of policing.
“One aspect that was quickly identified was the crossover between tackling alcohol harm and licensing and so in 2012, alcohol harm reduction and licensing were brought together into am Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit. We were co-located with the two local authorities within the force boundary. This led to a close working relationship, sharing of resources and information.
My work led me to take on local licensing in addition to alcohol harm reduction and I was also invited to join the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Licensing group which advised the Chief Officer lead and worked with the Home Office and other licensing groups and also saw Licensing SAVI in its early inception. I had the privilege of co-chairing in the NPCC group prior to my retirement.
“Whilst working in that unit we dealt with some tragic incidents where alcohol had been the main contributing factor, including the tragic deaths of 3 university students who drowned in 3 separate incidents age nights out, that highlighted the need for responsible authorities, licensed premises and other partners to work more closely together.
“Another incident that highlighted that for me, was when I met Maxine. Maxine’s 18-year-old son, Kristian, had been the victim of a one-punch attack in September 2010 sustaining a catastrophic brain injury and was in a coma for 7 days, he came out of the coma and was back on the road to recovery, although his behaviour was affected due to front lobe brain damage. Maxine fought to get him into the best rehabilitation unit, based in Northampton, and carried out fund raising to help his family and friends visit him. Tragically in July 2011, after a deterioration in his condition Kristian died. Kristian’s attacker was caught immediately after the assault and was found guilty of grievous bodily harm – he was out of prison before Kristian died.
“As a result, Maxine created the charity One Punch UK the aim of which envisions a nation without violence, where social violence is condemned, through awareness raising, education and support. Maxine campaigns for a change to the sentencing guidelines for one punch attacks. Maxine also tells the story of the tragic death of her son to various audiences to highlight the impact of what one punch can do and this has included door security staff within the night-time economy.
“She invited me to act as an advisor to the Board of Trustees to help steer the work and help to establish connections with policing and other partners, and when I retired from policing, I was privileged to be invited by Maxine to join the charity board as a Trustee.
“One Punch UK is a very small charity and is operated by Maxine and her husband. They operate on a shoestring budget and like many small charities have struggled to recover from the COVID lockdowns which restricted the work they could do. They have had some success with the formation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group for One Punch assaults created by the Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison, whose father was also a victim of a one punch attack and died as a result.
“No matter the struggles I am constantly in awe of Maxine’s drive, commitment and bravery in continuing to tell her story and also support the victims and families of one punch attacks.
“It’s for the above reasons I support venues use of Licensing SAVI as a means for those running venues to understand how their operating practices can influence behaviours of others, in particularly with a view to reducing violence”.