Alcohol-related crime and violence targeted

Last updated 15:48 11/12/2013

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Police are clamping down on alcohol offending just in time for the onslaught of work Christmas parties and end-of-year celebrations.

Operation Unite is the first in a series of police operations targeting alcohol-related crime and violence set to begin this week.

The Australasian programme is aimed at challenging crime, violence and anti-social behaviour caused by alcohol.

Police will be walking around known troublespots in Blenheim, Picton and Kaikoura between Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Drivers heading in and out of town centres could be stopped at police checkpoints while disorder offences and liquor ban breaches would be treated with zero tolerance. Controlled purchase operations would also be carried out at bars targeting underage patrons and high levels of intoxication.

Senior Sergeant Dan Mattison, of Blenheim, said police weren't trying to stop people from having a good time.

"We're more than happy that people are drinking, we just want them to do it responsibly," he said.

"It's not acceptable for people to punch each other or break things or get disorderly."

Drivers in rural areas could also expect to be stopped and breath-checked anywhere in the district during the operation.

Police planned on running an end-of-work operation next week to target alcohol-related offending.

Some people wrapped up their working year with parties and a high consumption of alcohol, Mr Mattison said.

Extra staff would also be monitoring levels of intoxication at New Year's Eve celebrations in Picton and Kaikoura.

"We want people to have a good, safe, happy time over the holiday period," he said. "Drink responsibly, drink in moderation, and look after your mates."

Marlborough area prevention manager Senior Sergeant Peter Payne said one-third of recorded violence offences and family violence incidents in New Zealand were committed when the offender had consumed alcohol. About half of offenders or victims of homicides or serious assaults were affected by alcohol.

The majority of alcohol-related offences were committed in public places, usually near licensed premises, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express


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