Police quieter as new booze laws hit

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 13:58 21/12/2013

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Police are hailing the first days of the new liquor laws as a success and are "cautiously optimistic" they will help reduce boozy behaviour.

From Wednesday night the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act came into effect, forcing bars to be closed by 4am, and enabling police to issue infringement notices for misuse of alcohol.

Police manager of alcohol harm prevention Inspector Ben Offner said there had been fewer calls last night than previous weeks, despite the Friday before Christmas traditionally being one of the busiest nights of the year.

"We're actually down this week on last week and the week before, which is against the trend ... we're cautiously optimistic," he said.

The transition between the old act and the new act had gone smoothly, and licensees were taking their responsibilities seriously, he said.

Revellers in Auckland and Wellington had also co-operated, getting into taxis and going home once the bars closed.

"From talking to my staff out in the street overnight, we're pretty pleased with the way things went," Offner said.

"It's not about killing nightlife ... it's all about preventing harm in the community and last night, there was some harm prevented."

Meanwhile in Christchurch last night, 120 police staff were deployed across the city to enforce the new laws.

There were 39 arrests for a variety of alcohol-fuelled offences, 36 infringement notices issued, and 25 drink-drivers, Inspector Peter Cooper said.

In the Central districts, drivers demonstrated more responsible drinking behaviour.

Police stopped more than 2500 drivers at checkpoints on State Highways 1 and 3 and not one was over the drink-drive limit.

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- Stuff

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