Unfortunate side of festive season

With nine people arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour and two sent to the cells for detoxification, Palmerston North police were kept busy at the weekend dealing with pre-Christmas revelry.

On Saturday night in the city, 15 arrests were made in relation to alcohol offences, including four people caught drink-driving.

The behaviour has been called a sobering reminder of the potential for end-of-year festivities to go overboard.

Palmerston North alcohol harm reduction officer Sergeant Glenn Ryan said people needed to plan their nights out, look after their friends and have a plan for getting home safely.

"This time of year, police find ourselves dealing with people who wouldn't normally come to our attention. Be it drunk-driving, breaching the liquor ban, disorderly behaviour or some other incident, unfortunately, the overwhelming reason is because they've being drinking too much. Even worse is if they become a victim.

"I can guarantee these people all wish they could turn back the clock and reduce their intake of alcohol."

End-of-year work functions, sports team break-ups and pre-Christmas gatherings with friends and family often led to parties moving into town, he said.

The alcohol-related arrests were on top of the other work police had to handle at the weekend.

Police had increased their presence in the central business district this month, with a focus on nipping issues in the bud.

Mr Ryan said police would be enforcing the city's liquor ban and taking a firm line on public order offences. History showed if such minor offending was not policed, alcohol-related offending could escalate to more serious offences.

While police played a part in educating and preventing offending, there were a few steps members of the public could take to prevent themselves from making stupid decisions, becoming offenders, or becoming victims.

"Let's all have a good time but please think about the consequences of your drinking. Look after your mates and stay safe."

Manawatu Standard