Coffs police on a beach patrol.
Coffs police on a beach patrol.

Police request beach booze ban

POLICE have stepped in to request Coffs Harbour City Council implement a peak holiday booze ban on our busiest beaches.

As a result, the council is now inviting residents to comment on the proposal that would ban alcohol at beach reserves for 24 hours on New Year's Eve and Australia Day.

The appeal follows a recent rise in arrests and injuries to police in the Coffs Harbour area on these days.

It is proposed that 19 beach reserves from Sawtell to Arrawarra, currently subject to 9pm-9am alcohol curfews, will be placed under a 24-hour ban on New Year's Eve 2010 and Australia Day 2011.

The prohibition would make it illegal for anyone to bring in or consume alcohol at these reserves from 6am until 6am on both days.

“New Year's Eve and Australia Day have evolved into occasions requiring a significant police response,” said Sergeant Greg Peronchik of the Coffs/Clarence Crime Management Unit in a report sent to the council.

“The greatest risk associated with both of these occasions is the congregation of large numbers of generally younger persons in public places.

“Planning for the events has been refined to the degree that the identified risks have been managed through a largely reactive allocation of police resources to problem locations.

“The amendment to the prohibitions as requested would provide significant assistance to police in ensuring public safety and amenity on the days in question, by allowing police to lawfully exercise powers in order to address the problems identified before they emerge.”

Serious outbreaks of violence on Australia Day last year – around Park Beach in particular – prompted the Local Area Command to roster 47 additional officers this year from Iluka to Urunga and west to Dorrigo.

The net result was a decline in the number of incidents but 29 arrests were still made.

As many as 16 of those offenders were detained for over-indulging in alcohol, while officers charged 13 of the 29 for a host of offences.

These included drink-driving, swearing, assault, breaching bail and brawling.

On behalf of the police, council is asking the community to provide its input into the booze ban proposal.

The proposal will be on exhibition at council, local libraries and at for public consultation for 28 days from October 21 until November 18.

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