Dry zones keep a lid on trouble

DRY Australia Day celebrations at local beach reserves and parks, overall, appear to have curbed drunken behaviour that’s marred our national day in the past.

As alcohol bans were enforced between Sawtell and Arrawarra, police responded to just a handful of unruly incidents today.

Families celebrating by the beach commented that the noticeable improvement in Australia Day behaviour was more in keeping with the spirit of the day.

The police response to anyone found drinking in prohibited areas was simple and effective.

“Officers who come across people consuming alcohol in those areas tell them they are drinking in an Alcohol Prohibited Area and tip out their alcohol,” Coffs/Clarence supervisor Sergeant Lee Thomas said.

“We began patrols early, working hard before lunch to make sure drunken and anti-social behaviour didn’t spiral out of control later in the day.”

This summer holiday season, authorities have had greater powers to seize and ban alcohol in public areas, under a Bill passed in State Parliament by Port Macquarie MP Peter Besseling.

Coffs Harbour City Council used the Local Government Amendment (Confiscation of Alcohol) Bill to introduce 24-hour booze bans on Coffs Coast beaches on New Year’s Eve and again today.

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