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Whole picture missing on alcohol harm


Friday 11 April

Whole picture missing on alcohol harm

Fewer victims could be the result of efforts to draw up a 'whole picture' on harm caused by alcohol, Police Senior Sergeant Tracy Patterson told a Nelson conference today.

“We don't know the full story because so many alcohol-related incidents go unreported, or are recorded by only one agency and not shared,” she said. “Intoxicated people fighting outside a sports club or pub may end up in hospital, for example, but the incident might not be known to the police.”

Senior Sergeant Patterson is the Police Central District Liquor Licensing Co-ordinator. She said police were working on closer liaison with hospitals, public health services, ambulance agencies, the fire service, local government and others to draw up more comprehensive data about alcohol harm.

It could reduce victim numbers, for example, by alerting police to a particular hotel, club, area of town, or time of night when problems were happening.

“We could better target resources according to the risk and so perhaps could other agencies. For example if public health staff found a fire risk at a house due to alcohol, smoke alarms might be installed by the local fire brigade. A district council might help police by installing more lighting in a dangerous area.”

The conference, with the theme “Local Government – Planning for Alcohol in the Community”, is being run by the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC).


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