Police clamp down as party season gears up
IPSWICH police are preparing to do their bit for a trans-Tasman offensive against drunken violence and stupidity this weekend.
The sixth Operation Unite began last night and, in Ipswich, will involve an increased police presence inside and near licensed venues from Boonah to Toogoolawah.
Inspector Kev Keillor said additional crews had been rostered onto evening shifts to perform everything from pub and club "walk throughs" to roadside breath testing.
"The Commissioner has asked for high-visibility policing," Insp Keillor said.
"Police will be targeting licensed venues and any sort of anti-social or criminal behaviour.
"We have been and will continue to work very closely with all the licensed venues."
Part of the police role in Operation Unite is also to accompany liquor licensing inspectors, who were expected to be out in force this weekend.
Ipswich Liquor Industry Action Group (LIAG) president and Brothers Leagues Club manager Mark Hennelly said the additional police presence was welcome.
"Police have a calming effect on a lot of people and it is good that they're so visible," Mr Hennelly said.
"Members of LIAG are always striving to do the right thing by maintaining a good level of social behaviour - that's our goal.
"People sometimes have too much to drink and you can't control every situation."
Australia and New Zealand Police Advisory Agency (ANZPAA) CEO Jon White said police called on all members of the community to think about the long-term consequences of their behaviour when out drinking.
"The message that Operation Unite sends is to be safe," Mr White said.
"It is about the community thinking responsibly and sensibly when going out drinking in public and being aware of the environment around them."
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education's (FARE) 2011 Annual Alcohol Poll found more than five million Australians had been affected by alcohol-related violence, including 2.6 million who had been direct victims of violent incidents.
"Alcohol is an issue that needs to be tackled on all fronts. Cultural change begins with the individual and extends to the wider community. We all have a role to play in achieving cultural change," Mr White said.
Operation Unite will involve overt and covert licensing operations, random breath testing, mounted police, dog squad and additional police patrols.