More Police means fewer arrests at Whangamata Beach Hop

More Police means fewer arrests at Whangamata Beach Hop

National News

The right mix appears to have identified in terms of policing large events in the Coromandel with an enlarged highly visible Police presence at the weekend's Beach Hop resulting in far fewer arrests.

Waikato Operations Manager, Inspector John Kelly said just over 100 staff from the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and pan-Auckland areas were drawn in to Whangamata to police the 10th anniversary Beach Hop.

'We've ended up with 230 odd arrests, about 60 fewer than last year and far less than previous years which shows the benefits of strong relationships between Police, Hop organisers, local councils and the community.

"One of the most successful tools in keeping the Beach Hop a success is the liquor ban which enables us to nip problems in the bud before they escalate."

Mr Kelly said the vast majority of the over 60,000 visitors flooding the town came with a positive attitude but with so many more people in a town with a normal population of just over 3,000 there would always be exceptions to the rule.

"With a heightened presence it would be reasonable to expect a corresponding increase in arrest numbers but there wasn't which tells me we've got our mixture right and participants are there with a positive attitude enjoying the family atmosphere.

"Those that didn't have such an attitude made up the majority of people arrested."

Mr Kelly said an example of this was the need for Police to deploy skirmish lines around 1am to clear Whangamata's main street.

"It's interesting that those arrested at this time were not Beach Hop participants but younger people from out of town attracted to the event for different reasons who's behaviour deteriorated after consuming large amounts of alcohol.

With the event such a success Mr Kelly said the challenge now was for those returning home to do so in a safe manner, allow plenty of time to get there and take into account the increased traffic flows.

"Both routes out of Whangamata involve hilly, winding roads. I think if those heading home take things easy it will go along way to ensure everyone is able to return to enjoy next year's Hop."

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