For many frontline police staff across Hawke's Bay the festive season is too often marred by calls to far-from-festive incidents.

"For the majority of families the holiday season is a happy one which they enjoy celebrating together," Hawke's Bay Police Area Commander Inspector Dave Greig said.

"However, for many in our communities the Christmas period can present additional challenges and can be an extremely difficult time — this is sometimes exacerbated by an increase in alcohol consumption and/or financial pressure."

Mr Greig said police encouraged everyone to "take it easy on themselves and others" over the holiday period, and to ensure they were around to help family and friends stay safe too.


He had some simple lines of advice.

● Discuss ways to make family visits, travel or parties safer.

● Make a plan to check in with anyone you are concerned about.

● Keep an eye on children and what's going on around them.

● Support someone in getting space or time-out if they need it.

"We know that the holiday season can mean a higher rate of violent incidents, including against family members, and we encourage anyone experiencing, perpetrating or witnessing family harm to speak up and ask for help."

Mr Greig urged anyone in need to call the specialised 0800 Family Violence Information Line on 0800 456 450 as it provided useful information and connected people to services available.

"And you can also contact your local police for safety advice and help — in an emergency dial 111."


Mr Greig said police would also be out in numbers on the region's road over the festive season working to prevent incidents and accidents.

"However we can't do it alone — road safety is everyone's responsibility," he said.

"Our focus will be on the four main behaviours that contribute to harm in a crash — going too fast for the conditions, impairment from drugs, alcohol or tiredness, distraction by things like mobile phones and lack of seat restraints."

There will be a lower 4km/h speed threshold on static and mobile safe speed cameras which will run through until January 8.

"We want people to get the message to slow down while they're travelling to see loved ones over the holidays," Mr Greig said.

"We want everyone to get to their destinations and home again safely."

Police also had simple but straightforward advice for people out socialising over the Christmas and New Year season.

● Keep an eye on your friends.

● If a friend is drunk, feeling sick, unco-ordinated, confused or faint, stay with them. Don't leave them alone.

● Take them to a safe place and tell someone else if you are worried (such as your other friends, the bar or security staff).

● If someone collapses and is unconscious call 111 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

● Keep in contact with your friends throughout the evening.

● It could be unsafe to go home with someone you have only just met — ask a party host to let you stay over.

● Let your friends know you are leaving so they don't worry if they can't find you.

● Keep to main streets and well-lit areas.

● Don't walk by yourself — walk with a friend or in a group.