Party registers help cops respond

By Roger Moroney

As the festive season across Hawke's Bay begins to crank up police are expecting to be invited to a party or two pretty well every weekend - but often for all the wrong reasons.

Senior Sergeant Fred van Duuren said with the festive season starting to hit top gear parties were being staged "at a rate of knots" and he expected that to continue "well into the New Year and beyond".

While most went off without trouble, a worrying number did not and police are urging people planning a party to let them know about it.

For the past two years party register schemes had been organised in Napier and Hastings and had worked well.

Police and Roadsafe Hawke's Bay have joined forces again this year to run a party register that records where parties are being held around the district each weekend. The registers are designed to help police keep track of where any likely trouble may emerge and to respond quickly if needed.

People organising a party, and registering it, will receive a free party pack full of useful advice on running a safe party and being a responsible host.

Mr van Duuren said other benefits of registering a party meant that if something went wrong police would be able to provide support.

"They will know where the party is, how many people are expected and who to speak to directly if they do need to attend."

Roadsafe Hawke's Bay had also created a website which included information on host responsibility, how to avoid gatecrashers and noise control.

"The party season starts about mid-December and for us, it is our busiest time of the year trying to keep a lid on disorder and other alcohol-related crime.

"Every weekend we attend parties or gatherings that have got out of control and we hope the party register will help steer us to where potential trouble may loom," he said.

"While most parties are great and are well-controlled by the organisers, there are a few that go haywire. Often it's a bad mix of too much alcohol and youthful exuberance."

Mr van Duuren said police would be taking a zero tolerance approach to brawling, disorder and violence both on private property and in public places over the festive season. Extra police will be on duty well into the New Year.

People organising events where alcohol would be served also needed to adopt the host responsibility role, police said.

Drink-drive checkpoints had been stepped up across the Bay.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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