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Police urge safe celebrations ahead of alcohol focus

Police urge safe celebrations ahead of alcohol focus

Christchurch Police are continuing their focus on alcohol-related crime tonight as people head into the annual round of Christmas festivities.

Inspector Peter Cooper, Canterbury Deployment Manager, says the Friday night before Christmas is always a busy one for end-of-year office parties and celebrations - and it's traditionally also busy for Police attending alcohol-related crime and crashes.

"But we'd really prefer not to be dealing with disorder, fights, assaults and crashes," he says.

"Our message remains a simple one - enjoy your celebrations, but keep yourselves and your mates safe."

Inspector Cooper says Police will again have a high-visibility presence across the city throughout Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning.

Up to 70 extra staff are rostered on for the night, with a total of around 125 officers expected to be duty across the city.

Officers will be actively patrolling and enforcing public place alcohol bans, and paying visits to bars and clubs to check on levels of intoxication.

New alcohol regulations which came into force this week give Police officers the ability to issue infringement notices and fines on the spot for offences including breach of alcohol bans, lending ID to an under-18 year-old, and presenting a fake ID.

Bars that serve intoxicated people, or allow them to remain on the premises while intoxicated, risk a fine of up to $10,000.

"These regulations are a reminder that anybody who sells or consumes alcohol needs to take their responsibilities seriously.

"It's all about ensuring people can enjoy their celebrations and have a great time, but without harming themselves or others.”

Drink-drive checkpoints will also be operating throughout the weekend, with police maintaining an 'anywhere, any time' policy on breath testing - where every driver stopped will be breath-tested. Police are also enforcing the zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 years old.

In an initial pre-Christmas operation last Friday night, Police carried out 216 hotel visits, 11 drink-drive checkpoints and 14 foot patrols in public areas. A total of 3257 breath tests were carried out, with 21 people recording excess breath alcohol.

"We believe the high-visibility police presence in key risk areas made a significant difference to the levels of crime and crash on the night," Inspector Cooper says.

"Officers attended only 16 disorder incidents on the night, compared with 89 on the equivalent Friday night last year. Two people were taken into custody for drunkenness, compared to 19 last year.

"The number of vehicle collisions and traffic incidents reported also dropped significantly, from 78 last year to 25.

"We hope that means people are getting the message about drinking responsibly - but we urge people to remain aware of their own safety and the safety of others when they're out celebrating."

ENDS

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