POLICE

Checkpoints for Rhythm N Vines music festival

Friday 21 December 2012, 2:02PM
By New Zealand Police
442 views


GISBORNE

Police will be setting up checkpoints on the outskirts of Gisborne City in the days leading up to Rhythm N Vines in a bid to deter pre-loading and drink-driving.

The checkpoints will be set up at both the northern and southern approaches to the city and will continue right through the festival.  All traffic will be stopped and drivers caught with excess breath alcohol readings will be processed for drink-driving.

The initiative is aimed at stopping people pre-loading before they get to the festival, which has been a regular problem in recent years, Tairawhiti Area Commander Inspector Sam Aberahama said.

"Each year we come across a number of people who arrive at the festival drunk and they may well have driven in that state for some time.  There are two issues here - they can cause mayhem when they arrive at the festival,  but more importantly, they have been driving drunk, often for some hours, and they are putting other road-users at risk," Mr Aberahama said.

The festival attracts thousands of young people from outside the Gisborne region, many of whom drive.  Police say they will be "coming down hard" on drink-driving and an increased presence around the city and at the festival will mean the chances of being stopped will be very high.

"We will have a zero tolerance approach to this - and any alcohol-related crime for that matter.  So if you're thinking of doing it our message is very simple - don't."

Police are also urging festival-goers to take responsibility for their own property and their personal safety.  Each year there are numerous thefts reported from the festival, which include jewellery, clothing, cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices.   Things like iphones, ipads and ipods will be top of the list this year, so police are advising people not to bring them and  keep them at home.

"If it's valuable and you don't want to lose it, don't bring it.  If you must bring it, make sure it is kept safe and hidden out of general view."

Mr Aberahama said each year police dealt with assaults and disorder at the festival, usually sparked by too much alcohol.  It was up to everyone to keep themselves and their friends safe and not to overdo it.

"It's a big festival and there are lots of things happening, so people should be aware of the situations they could get themselves into.  You don't want to be that guy or girl who everyone has to look after - your friends won't thank you for it."

Police will be brought in from out of the district for the duration of the festival and there will be an increased presence on the roads and at the festival.