Canterbury police will be focusing on licensed premises and drink-driving this weekend as part of a trans-Tasman operation targeting alcohol-related crime.
Operation Unite is a joint policing operation conducted across New Zealand and Australia focusing on alcohol misuse, violence and anti-social behaviour.
The operation aims to highlight the community impacts of alcohol misuse, including crime and anti-social behaviour, health and injury problems and subsequent impact on policing.
Sergeant Al Lawn of the Canterbury Alcohol Strategy and Enforcement Team, says the weekend operation is all about community safety.
"We know that alcohol is a huge driver of crime and crashes," he says. "The effects of alcohol misuse on the community are devastating, and a huge cost in terms of health and social issues.
"This weekend we will be maintaining a high profile presence across the district, checking on licensed premises, undertaking breath-testing operations, enforcing liquor bans and taking a hard line on any alcohol-fuelled disorder."
Sergeant Lawn says the operation is timely - coming hard on the heels of the district's most recent controlled purchase operation (CPO), monitoring sales of alcohol to minors.
"Police and our partner agencies, local caouncils and Community and Public Health, have carried out four CPOs over the past four months.
"The results showed that some premises were still prepared to sell to minors but overall the results are good, and on par with historic averages."
• Four CPOs in Canterbury since 1 August 2011 (This covers North and Central Canterbury only)
• Total 65 premises visited - 43 off-licences, 20 on-licences, two clubs
• Four sales in all (approx 6%) - two from off-licences, two from on-licences.
• All four sales referred to the Liquor Licensing Authority and, where appropriate, the District Court.
"We will be continuing to run these operations and to monitor licensed premises as part of our strategy of preventing access to alcohol by minors, who are among our community's most vulnerable.
"Operation Unite fits well into this strategy with an across-Police plan to minimise harm and prevent victimisation from liquor abuse. And we will be closely monitoring licensed premises this weekend."
Sergeant Lawn says that with summer weather now arriving, people also need to be cautious about swimming while drinking. "Alcohol and water can be a dangerous cocktail, so our message is be safe, and know your limits".