Waikato Unites to prevent alcohol harm

Press Release – New Zealand Police

Reducing the risks and preventing further tragedies is the driver behind a District wide alcohol focused operation taking place across the Waikato this weekend.Waikato Unites to prevent alcohol harm

Reducing the risks and preventing further tragedies is the driver behind a District wide alcohol focused operation taking place across the Waikato this weekend.

District Commander, Superintendent Win van der Velde said dozens of staff will be out and about on City streets, rural roads and highways as part of Operation Unite, the fifth united stand by Australia and New Zealand to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The misuse of alcohol misuse remains one of the biggest challenges for Police and is an aggravating factor in at least a third of recorded offences of violence and family violence.

“Nearly half of all youth offenders dealt with for violence have consumed alcohol and here in the Waikato 11 people have died in crashes on our roads where alcohol was considered a contributing factor.”

Nationally, the annual social costs resulting from the harmful use of alcohol are estimated to be over $5 billion.”

Mr van der Velde said there is no quick fix solution to alcohol harm, be it be as a result of public place disorder, violence in the home or trauma on our roads.

“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 or other agencies to clean up the mess it causes.

“That cultural change can be something as simple as a person’s mates telling them they won’t travel with them in a car when they’ve been drinking, by standing back and saying nothing people give tacit approval to someone drink driving.”

One of the most effective tools Police and councils have in reducing the risk of alcohol related harm was by effective enforcement of liquor bans in place across the District.

“Consuming alcohol in breach of these bans has consequences and we would rather we educate people of the risks before hand than deal with those consequences later.”

Those consequences include;

• 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 going out and intending to drink alcohol have fun but not at the expense of others;

• Arrange safe transport to and from your location, whether that is a designated sober driver, taxi, bus or dial-a-driver. If paying for your transport, make sure you put money aside at the start of the night so that you don’t spend it on drink and find yourself stranded.
• If 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 on and off licensed premises.


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