Police on lookout for booze offences

Last updated 05:00 16/12/2013

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Timaru police increased their presence over the weekend with numerous Christmas parties in full swing.

A team from Christchurch was called in to operate booze bus checkpoints on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Those arrested included a 28-year old Timaru man who had an excess breath alcohol (EBA) level of 792 micrograms per litre of breath, nearly twice the legal limit.

The zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 was enforced, resulting in the arrest of a 19-year old male for an EBA of 354mg.

Additional police staff were also patrolling bars, clubs, alcohol ban areas and drink-drive checkpoints in a bid to minimise crime and crashes following parties.

Canterbury Police Prevention Manager Inspector Richard Bruce said police often see people take it too far at this time of year.

"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.

Timaru police made several arrests and gave several warnings in the early hours of Sunday morning for offences such as fighting in public, disorderly behaviour, and wilful damage.

However, the only damage reported was to a vehicle in Elizabeth Street.

"The risk is that when people overdo the alcohol they make poor decisions, and end up becoming offenders or victims of crime or crashes," Mr Bruce said.

Timaru publicans noticed an increase in police presence. Monteiths owner Claire Edginton said it was good to see police on foot patrol.

"We are definitely into the busy season, and it's important to have their presence on the streets."

The weekend alcohol focus was part of Operation Unite, a trans-Tasman police initiative.

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- © Fairfax NZ News


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