Staff from the Bay of Plenty Police District will join forces with Police and community organisations from around New Zealand and Australia this weekend in support of Operation Unite – an operation specifically targeting alcohol-related harm, including disorder, violence and drink driving.
The local District co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Colin McPherson, says Operation Unite is particularly relevant for the Bay of Plenty as the region prepares for its busy festive season.
"The Bay of Plenty region is an attractive place to live, work, visit and play, and there are large numbers of visitors and locals who choose to celebrate the festive season in our stunning back yard.
"Our over-arching Summer Policing strategy is about making people feel safe and reassured on the street, beaches, roads and in their homes this summer holiday season, and that includes a strong focus on reducing alcohol-related harm. Operation Unite this weekend is part of that.
"People should be able to enjoy alcohol related activities in our community with minimal risk of harm to drinkers, minors and the wider community, but unfortunately that is simply not the case these days.
"Operation Unite is not about stopping people from going out and having a good time – but rather, it's about promoting messages about how to do that safely.
"Think about your behaviour, look after your mates, consider the impact after the night is over. Make your weekend one to remember – not one to forget."
Senior Sergeant McPherson says alcohol is a factor in more than a third of recorded offences and a third of all Police calls for service.
He says alcohol is a feature across all crime statistics, but is a major factor in disorder, violence, family violence and road crashes causing injury and death.
"Sadly, it becomes an even bigger issue over the summer period, and particularly during the festive season, for the community and all its service agencies, including councils, Police, hospitals, iwi organisations, Government agencies and other emergency services.
"This is why reducing alcohol-related harm is such a key priority for Police and our community partners, and that is why operations like this will continue."
Senior Sergeant McPherson says Operation Unite activities in the Bay of Plenty Police District this weekend will include compliance checks on bars and restaurants, compulsory breath testing for all drivers stopped, the enforcement of liquor bans and controlled purchase operations.
"These are 'business as usual' activities for us, particularly over the busy summer period, but Operation Unite gives us the opportunity to raise the awareness even higher in our communities.
"If you are stopped on the road, you will be breath-tested, and if you breach the liquor ban or the Sale of Liquor Act, we will take action."
Operation Unite will run from Friday 17 December through to Saturday 18 December.