Community Scoop

Central District joins united stand against alcohol harm

Press Release – New Zealand Police

Drunken violence will be the focus of a police operation across Central District this weekend.Central District joins united stand against alcohol harm

Drunken violence will be the focus of a police operation across Central District this weekend.

The focus is part of Operation Unite, the fifth united stand by Australia and New Zealand to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime and anti-social behaviour, which sees coordinated action across both countries.

Alcohol misuse remains one of the biggest challenges for Police; an aggravating factor in at least a third of recorded offences of violence and family violence. Nearly half of youth offenders dealt with for violence have consumed alcohol. The social costs resulting from the harmful use of alcohol annually is estimated to be in excess of $5 billion.

District Commander Russell Gibson said: “There is no quick fix and it’s not a problem we can just arrest our way out of. We can only combat alcohol misuse through cultural change and that means every individual and every community taking personal responsibility rather than just leaving it to the Police and other agencies to clean up the misery it causes.”

Pre-loading of alcohol before going out is a significant issue as is binge-drinking. More and more Police are seeing people who are not just drinking to be sociable they are drinking with a mission to get drunk. Every one of those people is leaving themselves vulnerable and exposed to becoming either a victim or an offender.

“We want people to have fun but it is possible to do that and to stay in control. We are dealing with alcohol misuse every day and the purpose of Operation Unit is to highlight this unacceptable behaviour and the risks of excessive alcohol consumption. It is also about educating people about their drinking habits,” said Superintendent Gibson.

It is important to remember that there are a number of liquor bans in the District and consuming alcohol in those areas has consequences.

• Breaching liquor bans can lead to fines of up to $20,000.
• If you are found consuming alcohol in a liquor ban area, the police can confiscate all of the alcohol and search you and your vehicle.
• Anyone under 18 found drinking in a public place can be issued with a Liquor Infringement Notice which carries an instant $200.
• Adults breaching a ban face prosecution.
• Anyone using a fake ID or someone else’s ID faces conviction and a $2,000 fine.

If you are going out and will be drinking alcohol:

• Arrange safe transport to and from your location, whether that is a designated sober driver, taxi, bus or dial-a-driver. If you are paying for your transport, make sure that you put the money aside at the start of the evening so that you don’t spend it on drink and find yourself stranded.
• If you are going out with a group, stay with that group. Look out for one another.
• For every alcoholic drink you have, have a glass of water or non-alcoholic drink.
• Never lose sight of your drink. Although drink-spiking is rare it can happen. If you lose sight of your drink at any time throw what is left away and get a fresh one.
• Never accept a drink that is handed to you by a stranger.

Operation Unite runs from Friday 2 December and ends on Sunday, 4 December. The focus will be around drink-driving, disorder and liquor ban breaches and will also involve checks of licensed premises.

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