Police expect drunken holiday season

Police are gearing up for an increase in drunken trouble on Christmas Day and New Year's Day this year because they both fall on the weekend.

They said more staff had been rostered on duty in the three police communications centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch because they expected more trouble than last year.

National communications centre manager, Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald, said Christmas and New Year were traditionally very busy.

Last year between December 24 and January 5, communications centres received almost 28,000 emergency calls, peaking at 2643 calls on January 1.

They also received more than 50,000 non-emergency calls, peaking at 3293 calls on December 31.

"Based on last year's numbers, we've rostered on additional staff to contend with the increased call volumes," Mr Fitzgerald said.

He said with New Year's Eve falling on a Saturday this year it was likely to be even busier.

"We're anticipating that given it's a weekend night, people will psychologically be in a more celebratory frame of mind. The results of this have consequences that invariably involve some sort of police intervention," he said.

He said alcohol, dangerous driving and unnecessary personal risk taking, were all likely to add to the stress.

Northern Communications centre manager in Auckland, Inspector Karen Wilson, said the holiday period could be particularly intense for families.

"The majority of calls we deal with over this time are generally domestic related or disorderly conduct. In almost all instances they are fuelled by alcohol and drugs," she said.

"Things can get out of hand very quickly. People can stop the situation from escalating by taking a bit of time out, not drinking too much, and not overspending.

"You don't need to resort to violence to sort out your issues."

However, she said anyone fearing for themselves or their children's safety should call 111 immediately.

Inspector Gary Allcock, the Central Communications centre manager in Wellington, said domestic violence and traffic incidents, such as dangerous and inconsiderate driving, and emergencies in the water, dominated the festive season last year.

Mr Fitzgerald said people should only call 111 for immediate help with a life-threatening or serious emergency, serious risk to life or property, crimes where the criminal may still be there, or a major public inconvenience such as a blocked state highway.


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