Early results from this weekend's Operation Unite alcohol harm and reduction campaign are encouraging although New Zealand and Australian Policing Agencies warn there is no room for complacency as we head into the Christmas holiday season.
Provisional results from New Zealand Police districts shows that 1027 officers were involved in the operation which is running simultaneously in Australia. Our staff were accompanied by 297 people from partner agencies such as health, district licensing, council, ALAC and ACC representatives.
Of the provisional figures obtained so far:
• 2721 brief intervention resource packs were handed out challenging people's drinking behaviour and offering 0800 help lines to call for those folk who realise they or people close to them have a drinking problem.
• 135 arrests were made for a variety of offences - this is expected to increase once further data becomes known over the next few days.
• 2,629 people were breath tested by mobile patrols
• 37,504 motorists were stopped and breath tested at checkpoints
• 263 screened positive for the breath test (less than 1 percent of the drivers tested)
• 53 blood samples were administered that could result in court action
• 212 miscellaneous offences were detected at checkpoints
• 623 hotel compliance checks were made
• 48 breaches of the Sale of Liquor Act were detected - these will result in applications to the Liquor Licensing Authority for suspension, cancellation or a variation of licence and hours.
• 49 Breach of Liquor Ban arrests were made
• 216 people were warned for breaching liquor bans
• six $200 instant fine liquor infringement notices were issued
• 15 minors were warned regarding under - aged drinking.
• 262 controlled purchase operations run. 195 at off licence premises and 67 at on licence premises. Nineteen outlets were caught breaching this licensing condition and will face further action.(less than 10% of premises checked).
Police reported that a wet night kept some party goers at home or confined festive season events to the indoors.
The highest drink driving result recorded during the evening was in the Waikato in which a recidivist drink driver blew 1290mg per litre of breath.
Party Buses were targeted by Canterbury Police commercial vehicle investigation unit staff. And in the same city, two people caught with excess breath alcohol were already on bail for similar charges. The highest reading for Canterbury was 1110mg
by a driver already suspended for 28 days due to excess breath alcohol.
In Canterbury the Central Police station watch house nurse also made two referrals to the Alcohol Helpline free phone number for follow up.
Nelson Police found one 14-year-old driving by himself; and issued 12 warnings for breaches of the liquor ban. These were all to tourists or to foreign fishermen from a boat docked in the port. The highest EBA was 740 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath on the West Coast.
In Bay of Plenty's Rotorua, alcohol fuelled disorder resulted in 5 arrests. The highest breath test recorded by 1129mg. Fines enforcement staff from court working alongside Police at checkpoint operations confiscated two vehicles and New Zealand Transport Agency staff 'green stickered' 14 vehicles in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
While conducting Controlled Purchase Operations staff were disappointed to find that one premises suspended for previously trading outside its trading hours was caught again - just three months after the last Operation Unite.
Acting Detective Superintendent Ross Grantham, National Crime Manager and NZ Police spokesman for Operation Unite, said this weekend was not a tick the box exercise.
"We want everyone to remember their night out for the right and safe reasons, not one that they will forget or regret.
"Whether you are heading away on holiday or staying in town, the message is simply. Look after yourself, your friends and families. Let's all have a safe and happy summer."
Spokesman for the ANZPAA Operation Unite, Commissioner Andrew Scipione from New South Wales said: "This operation is not about restricting people from having a good time.
"Operation Unite calls for everyone to think about how they can help change attitudes for the better. It's all about following safe commonsense advice and looking after your mates."
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Tel: 04 460 2986 or 027 241 630