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Police and Health Agencies Unite Against Alcoholic Violence

Police and Health Agencies Unite Against Alcohol and Violence

For police and health professionals, cleaning up the mess caused by alcohol-fuelled violence is a daily reality. This Christmas, health professionals and community organisations across Australia and New Zealand have joined with police in support of Operation Unite, a blitz on drunken violence.

A range of organisations, including the Alcohol and Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), Alcohol Liquor Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC), the Alcohol and Rehabilitation Foundation (AERF), the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons are speaking out in support of police about the impact drunken violence has on family and the community.

Spokesperson for Operation Unite, Commissioner Andrew Scipione, commends the health and community sector for supporting the ongoing police activity.

“This operation is not about restricting the public from going out and having a good time, but about promoting a message that we all have to think about our behaviour and that of our mates and consider the impact it may have long after the night is over,” says Mr Scipione.

Police, health and community sector will continue to have an important role in dealing with the alcohol problem. The social, financial and health costs associated with alcohol misuse are an ongoing concern for police and society at large. Research by the AERF put the total economic impact of alcohol misuse at AU$36 billion per annum - significantly up on previous estimates.[1]

“We all carry the cost of alcohol-fuelled violence,” said ALAC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan. “We may be personally affected when we or one of our family suffers after being assaulted by a drunk or hit by a drunk driver. But we all pay the cost when we can’t access health services because they are overloaded dealing with drunks or when police can’t respond to calls because police resources have to be diverted because of drunken incidents.”

Mr Vaughan says Operate Unite was a whole of community approach to the issue and he congratulated police on the initiative.

“We cannot expect police to deal with this huge problem on their own. We all need to take some responsibility and play our part within our families and our communities,” says Mr Vaughan.

The Australia and New Zealand operation starts on Friday, 17 December 2010 and ends on Sunday, 19 December 2010. It will involve overt and covert licensing operations, random breath testing, mounted police, dog squad and additional police patrols.

ENDS

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