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Time for cultural change: No bars about it

Time for cultural change: No bars about it

Police are concerned that the affordability and availability of alcohol is a significant contributor to the alcohol-related violence on our city streets and entertainment precincts. In response police across Australia and New Zealand will be conducting the sixth Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence on the weekend of 7 and 9 December 2012.

Police, emergency services and health department resources continue to be stretched when responding to alcohol-related injuries, assaults and associated violent behaviour. This weekend is once again an opportunity for police to highlight the impacts of excessive alcohol consumption and risky drinking behaviour that lead to violence and disorder.

Police continue to respond to the effects of alcohol misuse, including street violence, domestic violence, serious crime and road trauma.

“This weekend, police will call on the community to think about the consequences of behavior when out drinking long after the night is over. Society has reached a tipping point in regards to the detrimental impacts of alcohol on our health, wellbeing and safety.” says Jon White, CEO of ANZPAA, the agency that serves Police Commissioners across Australia and New Zealand.

There has been a cultural shift in the way people drink and the attitudes towards alcohol consumption. As a result of this cultural shift, more people are drinking to get drunk, alcohol is more available and affordable and there has been a proliferation in the amount of licensed venues.

“The message that Operation Unite sends is to be safe. It is about the community thinking responsibly and sensibly when going out drinking in public and being aware of the environment around them. Go out and have a good time, but don’t let the fun get out of hand,” says Jon White.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education’s (FARE) Annual Alcohol Poll (2011) found that over five million Australians have been affected by alcohol-related violence, including 2.6 million who have been direct victims of violent incidents.[1]

"Alcohol is an issue that needs to be tackled on all fronts. Cultural change begins with the individual and extends to the wider community. We all have a role to play in achieving cultural change,” says Jon White.

Operation Unite starts this Friday, 7 December 2012 and ends Sunday 9 December 2012. It will involve overt and covert licensing operations, random breath testing, mounted police, dog squad and additional police patrols.

[1] AERF Annual Alcohol Poll: community Attitudes and Behaviours 2011. Available [online] http://www.aerf.com.au/showcase/AER%20Foundation%20Annual%20Alcohol%20Poll%202011.pdf

Notes to the Editor:

Operation Unite: A Blitz on Drunken Violence
On the weekend of 7 and 9 December 2012 Australian and New Zealand police will stage an Australia and New Zealand Weekend of Action called Operation Unite: A Blitz on Drunken Violence.
Operation Unite demonstrates the determination of police to challenge alcohol-related crime, violence and antisocial behaviour and the united resolve to achieve change.

Operation Unite is about cracking down on alcohol misuse and making people feel safer and more secure. Alcohol misuse is a major issue in both Australia and New Zealand and together we need to develop solutions.
• To find out more information on Operation Unite please visit www.anzpaa.org.au
• For alcohol misuse statistics please go to www.anzpaa.org.au
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OperationUnite

ANZPAA Secretariat

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