Up to 50 additional police staff will be patrolling bars, clubs, alcohol ban areas and drink-drive checkpoints in Christchurch tomorrow [Friday] night in a bid to minimise crime and crashes in the wake of Christmas parties.
Canterbury Police Prevention Manager Inspector Richard Bruce says high spirits are expected as people make the most of work parties and summer festivities, but police too often see people take it too far.
"Enjoy your Christmas parties, but keep yourselves and your mates safe - that's our message," he says.
"We urge people to make sure they keep themselves safe, whether it's at work parties or at licensed premises, at home or on the road.
"We know that alcohol is a major contributor to crimes like disorder, violence and sexual assaults.
"In New Zealand around a third of all recorded offences are committed after the offender has consumed alcohol.
"The risk is that when people overdo the alcohol they make poor decisions, and end up becoming offenders or victims of crime or crashes."
Inspector Bruce says police will be deploying up to 50 additional staff from Friday early evening through to the early hours of Saturday morning.
Patrols will maintain a high-visibility presence at bars and entertainment precincts across the city. Alcohol bans will also be actively enforced.
"On the roads, there will be checkpoints operating throughout the city, targeting drink-driving.
"We will be adopting an 'anywhere, any time' policy on breath testing - where every driver stopped will be breath-tested.
"Young people also need to be aware that police will be rigorously enforcing the zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 years old."
The weekend alcohol focus is part of Operation Unite, a trans-Tasman police initiative to challenge alcohol misuse, crime, violence and anti-social behaviour.
Police on both sides of the Tasman are using this weekend to highlight the risk of injury, assault and other violence associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
"In Operation Unite we're calling on the whole community to reflect on their drinking behaviour, and on the potentially tragic consequences that have such a huge social and personal cost," says Inspector Bruce.
"At this time of year it's not just out at parties that problems occur. We often see a rise in public place assaults and violence in people's homes.
"For many people Christmas is already a stressful time - there's no need to add to it with excessive drinking.
"Our plea is - don't become a statistic this Christmas."
For those that are out partying in the coming days, Police are advising some simple tips for safe celebrations:
• Plan your night out ahead of time. Have a plan for how you're going to get home, before you go out.
• Arrange safe transport to and from your location, whether it's a sober driver, taxi, bus or dial-a-driver.
• Go out as a group and stay together. Look out for your mates and make sure they stay safe.
• Watch your drink - spiking drinks is rare, but it can happen. If you're in doubt about your drink, get a fresh one.
• Don't drink and drive. Checkpoints will be operating anywhere, any time.