MEDIA RELEASE 17 May 2011
More than 200 Counties Manukau Police staff were involved in Operation Unite last weekend, as part of a large Trans-Tasman effort to reduce incidents of alcohol related harm and to challenge the ‘drink to get drunk’ culture.
Across the District 130 arrests were made for a range of alcohol-related offences, mostly disorder.
Police had a special focus on licensed premises and were pleased to observe a high rate of compliance with ID checks before selling alcohol.
However, there were concerns noted around the number of intoxicated peoples and disorderly behaviour at several sports clubs in the District.
Acting District Commander, Superintendent Nick Perry says "In the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup we are being especially vigilant about the supply of alcohol to minors and intoxicated patrons."
"It's disappointing to see some premises in Counties Manukau are not meeting their obligations when it comes to host responsibility."
"As a result, we will be stepping up our monitoring of all premises that supply liquor, particularly clubs, over the coming months."
"There is no quick-fix to changing our drinking culture but people need to understand that there can be some pretty serious consequences. We see these consequences every week on our roads, in our community centres and in our homes."
"Young people especially need to know they are at risk of becoming victims of crime when they are intoxicated. I urge parents to have those tough conversations with their kids around their drinking habits, specifically discouraging them from "pre-loading" before they head out."
These messages are timely given school ball season is fast approaching. Police across the Auckland Region and Auckland Council have jointly developed some clear guidelines around the supply of alcohol at after-ball functions. All high schools have been sent letters outlining these guidelines including an offer to visit to the school to discuss them further.
Key points to note about after ball functions:
Any function to which tickets are sold is not considered a private social gathering.
As such, the sale of alcohol to minors, including the sale of a ticket to a function at which alcohol will be served to them, is illegal and may result in fines for the event organisers, minors caught consuming alcohol and/or owners of the premises.
A signed permission slip from parents and caregivers for their child to drink alcohol has no legal standing.
The District Licensing Agency and Police across the District know the date and venue of each school's ball and will take action to prevent such large after ball gatherings from happening. This may involve preventing students from boarding buses to the venue.
Large, secret gatherings in non-approved premises pose significant safety risks to attendees eg. overcrowding due to unexpected gatecrashers.
Small, home gatherings of friends and families after the ball are acceptable and should be encouraged as an alternative.
* For more information about Operation Unite, including national statistics on alcohol related offending, please refer to the NZ Police website: www.police.govt.nz
Issued by Natalie Swart
Counties Manukau Police
Ph 027 434 2218