Police warning on booze blitz

By Amy McGillivray

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Senior Sergeant Deirdre Lack hopes the new law allowing police to hand out on-the-spot fines for those breaching liquor bans will see the number of arrests drop. Photo / John Borren
Senior Sergeant Deirdre Lack hopes the new law allowing police to hand out on-the-spot fines for those breaching liquor bans will see the number of arrests drop. Photo / John Borren

Police warn party-goers they could be hit with a $250 instant fine when tough new alcohol laws come into effect.

As of December 18 police will have the ability to hand out $250 fines to anyone caught breaching a liquor ban.

Senior Sergeant Deirdre Lack said the new laws would be particularly helpful during the busy summer period.

"Instead of having to arrest them or give them a warning we can just give them a fine," she said. "It might slow down the arrests."

If people were very drunk and in breach of a liquor ban they would still be taken back to the station to sober up but would also find themselves slapped with a $250 fine.

"We're not going to just give them a ticket if they are highly intoxicated because it's just going to cause issues. We have to get them out of there."

Permanent liquor-free areas will be extended to cover a larger are of Mount Maunganui and Papamoa between December 26 and January 5.

Ms Lack said 180 extra officers from around the region would start to arrive in Tauranga on Boxing Day to help keep revellers under control on New Year's Eve.

The focus would be on policing the Mount Maunganui area, Mount Vibes at Baypark and the G2 Resolution party in Greerton but officers would also be patrolling the rest of the city, she said.

Mount Vibes organisers were hoping for 6000 people at the music festival, Ms Lack said.

The temporary jail infamously known as "Alcatraz" behind Mount Maunganui's police station will only be set up on New Year's Eve instead of the three days it has previously been in place for.

People would be taken back to the new Tauranga Station on Monmouth St to be dealt with on other days.

Ms Lack said party-goers seeing in the New Year had been reasonably well behaved during the past few years and she did not imagine this year would be any different.

"You can never say how it's going to be but as long as we do all that preparation phase it should be fine."

Even so, Ms Lack was gearing up for a big influx of visitors this year.

"It's weather dependant but I think we're going to have a dry summer so it could be quite busy."

Officers had already been visiting bars and patrolling busy areas and letting people know what would be expected during summer, Ms Lack said.

It will also be the first summer since police were issued with i-Pads and i-Pods to allow them to do their paperwork on the go and run their own checks on cars and people so there would only be one radio channel operating rather than the two usually used during the "silly season".

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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