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Alcohol blitz on both sides of the ditch

Alcohol blitz on both sides of the ditch

Police on both sides of the Tasman are this weekend launching a blitz against alcohol-fuelled crime and crashes.

Starting today, Police across New Zealand and Australia will be conducting the sixth Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence, which runs through until Sunday (9 December).

"Operation Unite aims to send a strong and clear message that police and the community will not put up with drunk driving, alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour and other related crime," says National Manager Road Policing, Superintendent Carey Griffiths.

During the operation, staff across all 12 Police districts will be focusing on alcohol-related offending, including drink driving, assaults, and licensing breaches, while Police in all Australian jurisdictions will have the same focus.

New Zealand Police will be paying extra attention to:

• targeting drink drivers in rural and urban areas;
• rigorously enforcing breach of liquor bans and alcohol offences in public places;
• targeting under-age drinking through high visibility patrols, infringement notices and follow up with young people's parents/caregivers;
• visiting licensed premises identified as posing risks and conducting compliance checks;
• conducting spot checks of on and off license premises, hotels and clubs; and
• working with partner agencies to reinforce community safety.

“The impacts of alcohol related offending accounts for almost 20 percent of the police budget, as well as one in four traffic offences, one in five traffic crashes, one in two cases of serious violence, and one in three cases of family violence,” Mr Griffiths says. “That has to change.”

Alcohol related crime is estimated to cost the New Zealand justice sector more than $716 million annually, while New Zealand Police spends around $200m on dealing with the misuse of alcohol. At least one third of all arrests include alcohol as a factor.

"Reducing alcohol related harm is a top priority for police, but it’s not just a Police issue. The challenge for all of us as individuals, friends, families and whanau is to confront our drinking habits and do our part to stay safe.”

Jon White, CEO of ANZPAA, the agency that serves Police Commissioners across Australia and New Zealand, says the affordability and availability of alcohol is a significant contributor to the alcohol-related harm seen on both countries’ roads, streets and entertainment areas.

“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,” Mr White says.


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