Police gear up for Aust Day blitz

Coffs Clarence Local Area Commander Superintendent Mark Holahan.
Coffs Clarence Local Area Commander Superintendent Mark Holahan.

ONE of the biggest police blitzes of the year on the Coffs Coast swings into gear on Australia Day.

All available police resources will be on hand to tackle alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour, just as they did on New Year’s Eve.

The particular focus will be the 24 parks and reserves across the region which have been declared off limits for alcohol.

“We’re preparing to police Australia Day as we have over the past couple of years, when we will have a significant amount of staff rostered on throughout the day and night,” said Coffs/Clarence local area commander, Superintendent Mark Holahan.

“Over the last number of years we have been disappointed with some people, particularly alcohol-related behaviour where we’ve seen a large number of arrests.

“We’ve worked closely with Coffs Harbour City Council to have those parks and reserves declared alcohol-free across the local government area for Australia Day.”

Supt Holahan said those zones had worked well on New Year’s Eve, when there had been a significant drop in arrests compared to previous years.

“We hope this strategy on Australia Day will have the same impact,” he said.

“For those people who seek to disregard alcohol-free areas, police will adopt a strong stance and will have powers to tip alcohol out and remove the alcohol from people who try to take it into these areas.

“We are hopeful that people will behave themselves and return these occasions to family-orientated days in these parks and reserves.

“We are hopeful the day will pass without incident although we are prepared to respond with strength to any incident that does occur.”

Supt Holahan said police would be on patrol early to make sure people were abiding by the regulations in the alcohol-free zones.

He also said police were not aware of any potential problems brewing but they had the ability to quickly move in at the first sign of trouble before it spread.

Highway patrol police will also be out in force on Australia Day during Operation Safe Return to target drink and drug-driving, speeding, fatigue and the non-wearing of seatbelts.

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