If people celebrate too hard seeing in the New Year tonight
in some North Island party zones, they might find themselves
being handcuffed by the country's top cops.
Commissioner Peter Marshall will be hitting the streets in
Auckland City Police District, Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush
will be with staff in Wellington and Deputy Commissioner Viv
Rickard is working at the Rhythm & Vines music festival
Mr Marshall will be seeing in his 40th New Year's Eve on the
beat and said in terms of policing on the year's biggest
party night, nothing much had changed over the decades.
"The districts will all be putting forward a lot of
resources," he told APNZ.
"There will be scores of police officers and there will be
more out where the hotspots are."
He said the policy was for high visibility policing and "good
"There's a fine line between people enjoying themselves and
not getting too drunk.
"We want people to enjoy themselves and have a good time, but
be respectful to each other, and respectful to our staff."
Five police officers were attacked in four incidents in just
four days over Christmas.
Traditional trouble spots included Mt Maunganui in the Bay of
Senior Sergeant Rob Glencross of Tauranga police said there
would be a strong contingent of police at the Mount.
"People can expect to see a greater police presence down
The whole aim was to create a "family friendly" environment,
so police would be cracking down on public drinking and
"Trying to keep a lid on that so people of all ages can go
out and try to enjoy their evening," Mr Glencross said.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council had planned entertainment
and fireworks for the expected crowds.
Gisborne police were also preparing for a busy night - with
large crowds already in the area for the Rhythm & Vines
festival, which draws up to 30,000 people.
Tairawhiti police area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama said
there were other events as well going on in the area.
"Our local policemen are all on duty and we've got a couple
of teams from out of the district who have come in to give us
a hand too."
Drink driving checkpoints would be in place both north and
south of Gisborne, Mr Aberahama said.
Inspector Lance Burnett of northern police communications
said there would be a full contingent of police at the
country's trouble spots.
"We've got every man and his dog out there."
The call centres would be working to prioritise calls as they
came in and police may not be able to attend smaller
"If there's risk to life then we've got to go.
"We're focusing on the major centres, the major trouble
Police would be working on historical evidence of where best
to put their resources - "it's intelligence-based policing",
Mr Burnett said.
Regional police would be doing a lot of pro-active work in
sending staff to known tension points in an attempt to avoid
any problems, he said.
Wellington police would be concentrated around the waterfront
where the city council had organised a fireworks display, as
well as Courtenay Place where the majority of bars and clubs
Tactical response manager Inspector Terry van Dillen said
Wellington was historically quiet over the new year, but
there were still a lot of people in the capital.
There would always be some people who would drink to excess
tonight, he said.
"We've got plenty of cells at the Wellington police station,
so if they don't pass the attitude test then we'll fill those
up no worries at all and kick them out in the morning."
And Inspector Peter Hegarty of southern police communications
said people tended to travel away from the big centres to
smaller towns and beach areas, such as the Tasman District,
Hamner Springs and Methven.
"They tend to have an influx of travellers come for New
Mr Hegarty said they would move resources to those areas.
Rain was forecast tonight for the South Island, which should
help to keep party-goers a bit calmer, Mr Hegarty said.
"But I'm not sure when it's going to arrive and what areas
it's going to affect at this stage."
The key safety message was to find a sober driver, or if
there was nobody available, to stay put, he said.
- Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ