A DRIVE to remove boxing machines from pubs and clubs in Bolton is the first in the North West, a leading anti-violence charity says.
The initiative by police to work with bars to remove the machines has been praised by Every Action Has Consequences — which was set up in the wake of the death Adam Rogers, who died after a single punch.
Police approached businesses in Bolton and asked them to voluntarily move the machines.
They are legal, but officers believe they “do not contribute positively to the atmosphere” in Bolton.
Adam Roger’s father Dave Rogers said the action being taken by the town’s officers against the machines was the first the charity has heard of in the North West.
He said: “Potentially the machines do cause violence. It’s really better to be safe than sorry.
“They aren’t a good thing to have in a pub. I am not saying people can’t indulge in them for a bit of fun like in a fairground, at that level it’s harmless.”
Mr Rogers and Pat, his wife, launched the charity following their son’s death in July, 2009.
He was killed by a single punch while in Blackburn town centre with his friends. He was acting as a peacemaker at the time.
Billy Upton, then aged 19, the killer of Mr Rogers, aged 24, was jailed in April 2010 for four years for manslaughter.
Mr and Mrs Rogers raise awareness of the devastating effects of spontaneous violence.
J2, After Dark and Durty Gurty’s, all in Bolton town centre, have all agreed to remove the machines after being approached by police.
Sixteen people have lost their lives due to alcohol-fuelled violence in the past three years across Greater Manchester. Police figures show 23 per cent of young men aged between 18 and 25 are most likely to carry out violent crime.
GMP launched its own One Punch Can Kill campaign last year.
Eden Lomax, aged 17, was jailed for life for the murder of Simon Mitchell in Bolton town centre in June last year.
Manchester Crown Court heard that Mr Mitchell suffered “catastrophic brain injuries” after falling and hitting his head on a concrete slab after Lomax punched him once. He was pronounced dead at the scene in Victoria Square outside Game.
Bertram Igbokwe, manager at After Dark night club in Nelson Square, said: “We volunteered to remove our machine after advice from the police. I don’t think that it’s about being too cautious. It’s about being safe. There are some people out there who are idiots and their actions could seriously impact on others.
“I don’t know whether removing the boxing machines will reduce crime or violence, but if it has the potential of preventing another Eden Lomax case then I’d say it’s better to be safe than sorry.”