Police out in force for Labour Weekend

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Taking high risk recidivist drivers off the road ahead of the holiday weekend will be part of road safety operation involving more than 260 police staff in the Bay of Plenty tomorrow.

Another key aim of the operation will be raising awareness about changes to child restraint laws which come into force on November 1.

Operation Presence is all about prevention using a 'whole of police' approach to reduce offending and victimisation. It is an initiative held regularly in the Bay of Plenty, changing focus depending on the concerns or issues of the day.

Bay of Plenty District Road Policing Manager Inspector Kevin Taylor said: "Labour Weekend is the first holiday coming out of the winter months; more of us are getting out and about to enjoy the improving weather and we start to see an increase of visitors to the District. We want everyone to enjoy themselves but that is dependent of them arriving and getting home safely.

"We will be looking to reduce the road risk by actively locating road users who have shown, by repeated offending, that they cannot responsibly use our road network, and we will be serving driver license suspension notices to as many of those drivers as we can locate prior to the weekend.

"We will also be engaging with schools around the child restraint law changes and that will include checkpoints at some schools around the district. This is about education and awareness rather than enforcement; it is to assist parents and caregivers in understanding the new rules so that children are travelling safely and legally."

Operation Presence will run for 12 hours and will involve a large number of staff not normally operating in road policing roles, including senior managers from the District HQ in Rotorua and staff ordinarily in office-based positions. Emergency response capability will not be affected by the operation.

Following on from Operation Presence there will be high visibility policing on the roads throughout the long weekend and anyone driving more than 4km/h over the permanent posted speed limit is liable to be ticketed.

Labour Day Weekend officially starts at 4pm tomorrow and ends at 6am on Tuesday.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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