Unfortunate side of festive season

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 17/12/2012

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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."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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