Arrests down as tactics changed

By Peter de Graaf

New tactics aimed at nipping trouble in the bud have been credited with a drop in the number of arrests in Paihia on New Year's Eve.

The turnaround happened despite big crowds and what police describe as high levels of alcohol-fuelled disorder.

In Whangarei there were few arrests with only five people welcoming in the new year inside police station cells.

Monday night's clear skies drew thousands of people to the Bay of Islands while others partied on Urupukapuka Island. For the tenth year running Business Paihia launched a midnight fireworks show from a barge moored offshore, while a church group put on a band and a free sausage sizzle at the Village Green.

Police again used Paihia's Memorial Hall as a base and a converted shipping container as a temporary lock-up.

Emergency services were also called to a number of crashes, the most serious of which occurred on Kerikeri Rd about 12.50am yesterday when a car and a courtesy van taking party-goers home collided.

The van, owned by Kerikeri's Pear Tree Restaurant, rolled and came to rest on its side opposite the Makana chocolate factory.

Three members of one family, including one seriously injured person, were flown to Whangarei Hospital by rescue helicopter. Several others were taken to Bay of Islands Hospital with minor injuries. Far North police area commander Inspector Wendy Robilliard- said fewer arrests were made this year but officers were kept busy separating people involved in alcohol-fuelled disorder.

As of 2am yesterday six people had been arrested in Paihia for fighting, assault and disorder, while others had been issued pre-charge warnings for breaching the liquor ban. Elsewhere one person was arrested in Kaeo for disorder and Kerikeri and Kaitaia police had been busy dealing with alcohol-related domestic violence. Kaikohe police made an arrest after a car chase to Dargaville.

In Whangarei a 31-year-old Tikipunga man on home detention was breath tested.

One of his regulations was not to drink alcohol. He spent the night in the cells. In another arrest police spotted a speeding driver on Western Hills Drive about 1.15am yesterday.

After a pursuit around streets that ended in Otangarei, the man was charged with failing to stop, reckless driving and drink-driving.

A man who stopped on a roundabout in Dip Rd and then hung out the door before driving off again was incapable of doing a police impairment test.

Police tracked the man after it was reported he was driving on the wrong side of the road on Dip Rd, about 10.30am on New Years Eve.

At Whangarei police station a nurse was unable to take a blood sample due to scarring on his arm.

- Northern Advocate

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