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Police unite to fight alcohol-fuelled crime

Police unite to fight alcohol-fuelled crime

Police will use their annual Operation Unite campaign to educate the public on the introduction of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (SASAA).

The SASAA which comes into effect on Thursday 19 December contains a raft of law changes including new restrictions on trading hours, increased penalties for the supply of alcohol to minors and tighter restrictions on alcohol advertising and promotion.

National Manager of Prevention Bruce Bird said alcohol is a factor in around a third of all crime.

“Every year we use Operation Unite to remind New Zealanders of the link between alcohol and crime,” Mr Bird said.

“This year it coincides with the introduction of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act which aims to modify New Zealand’s drinking culture and reduce the harm caused by excessive drinking.”

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.

Mr Bird said it is unacceptable that alcohol related offending accounts for almost 20 percent of the police budget.

“Our attitudes towards alcohol simply have to change,” Mr Bird said. “Reducing alcohol related harm is a top priority for police, but it’s not just a Police issue. The challenge for all of as individuals, friends, families and whanau is to confront our drinking habits and do our part to stay safe.”

In addition to educating the public on the SASAA the 2013 edition of Operation Unite will:

· target drink drivers in rural and urban areas;

· rigorously enforce breaches of liquor bans and alcohol offences in public places;

· target under-age drinking through high visibility patrols, infringement notices and follow up with young people's parents/caregivers;

· visit licensed premises identified as posing risks and conducting compliance checks;

· conduct spot checks of on and off license premises, hotels and clubs; and

· work with partner agencies to reinforce community safety.

Operation Unite is a joint initiative of Police Commissioners across Australia and New Zealand. It demonstrates the united determination of police to challenge alcohol misuse, crime, violence and anti-social behaviour and achieve significant change in Australia and New Zealand.

Operation Unite will be conducted for the seventh time on the weekend of Friday 13 and Sunday 15 December 2013.

ENDS

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