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Don't allow irresponsible drinking to spoil the party

Don't allow irresponsible drinking to spoil the party

If you know someone who is planning a party that has the potential to attract large numbers or get out of control the police in Bay of Plenty want to know about it.

As the weather hots up and the festive season fast approaches police across the District are increasingly being called to out-of control house parties fuelled by excessive drinking.

Officers regularly come across youths wandering the streets at weekends looking for parties, and the growing popularity of social media has resulted in many a gate-crashing horror story around the world.

In New Zealand approximately one third of all police recorded offences are committed after the offender has consumed alcohol.

"We're not out to stop people from having a good time or to stop people from having a social drink," says Prevention Manager Inspector Scott Fraser. "The issue is excessive drinking that is leading to poor decisions, like fighting and driving drunk. Youths in particular are leaving themselves vulnerable to becoming victims of crime because they are allowing alcohol to inhibit their perception of a safe environment."

"More often than not the situation has escalated to disorder before we are called and valuable resources that could be better utilised protecting our communities and helping victims of crime are being tied up. Prevention is key to breaking this cycle. Party hosts need to be taking greater responsibility and we all need to get better at looking out for family, friends and neighbours, as well as ourselves."

Throughout the summer, there will be operations focused on alcohol harm across the District in the suburbs as well as the CBDs; a combination of education and enforcement. The Traffic Alcohol Group (booze bus) will be fully utilised and could pop up at any time and anywhere to help keep our roads safe. Police will also continue to work closely with licensed premises and carry out random checks to ensure that licensing laws are being adhered to, particularly in respect of underage drinking.

So how do you maximise the fun and minimise the trouble?

If you are hosting a party, particularly one that is likely to attract large numbers, it is useful to let the police know of your plans. If you know of a party being planned in your community let us know in confidence. Knowing what is going on in our communities helps police to make sure they have the right people in the right places at the right times and helps police staff to provide effective crime prevention and safety advice.

• Avoid any mention on social media sites that you are holding a party. Social media and bulk text messaging are two common reasons for large numbers of unwanted guests arriving at parties and causing problems.
• Ensure that there is adult supervision and a plan in place in the event of gatecrashers or disorder.
• Only invite people you know will be sensible and not cause trouble.
• Be a responsible host and provide plenty of snacks or food and non-alcoholic drinks.
• Arrange for friends to stay over or have a means of getting home safely.
• Be a good neighbour and let them know of your party intentions.
• If drinking is becoming excessive or starting to get out of hand call the police before it escalates out-of-control.
• Keep an eye on your guests, especially those who are drinking. Do what you can to prevent excessive alcohol consumption and make their welfare a priority.

If you are going to a party or a night out:

• Plan your transport in advance. Make sure there is a sober driver or you have arrangements and money for alternative transport such as buses, taxis or dial-a-driver.
• Avoid walking home alone.
• If the host is happy to let you stay over consider this option.
• If you are not driving still try to have a non-alcoholic drink or a glass or water with every alcoholic one to stop you getting too thirsty or too drunk.
• If you are with a group of people look out for one another.
• 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.

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 fine.
• Adults breaching a ban face prosecution.
• Anyone convicted of using a fake ID or someone else's ID faces a $2,000 fine.

More useful information can be found at:
www.alac.org.nz/legislation-policy/host-responsibility
www.teentools.co.nz
ends

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