Up to 50 police officers will be on roster to patrol the
streets and roads of Queenstown when its average daily
population almost doubles during the festive period.
The new $150,000 digital closed-circuit television camera
system will be operating around the central business district
for the first time this season to help prevent crime and
Regular Queenstown police officers are not taking leave,
extra Southern staff will be drafted in, and both the Rural
Drink-Drive squad, based in Alexandra, and the Traffic
Alcohol Group, in Invercargill, will operate checkpoints.
Queenstown has an average population of 46,000 residents and
visitors a day, but that swells to about 90,000 during the
peak summer season.
The New Zealand Transport Agency said drink-driving,
particularly that by youth, was a serious road safety and
public health issue. Younger drivers continued to be the
largest problem group.
They caused nearly half of all the alcohol-related road
crashes on New Zealand roads.
As a result of these crashes involving young drivers, about
1000 people were injured or killed each year.
Senior Sergeant John Fookes, of Queenstown, said last week,
that especially during Christmas and New Year celebrations
alcohol was a feature in offences.
"One of the best things people can do is plan ahead when
considering their transport options.
"If people do see driving they consider to be a danger to
other road users, please give us a call on the *555 system.
"The roads at this time of year are busy, and in particular
quite a number of overseas drivers are unfamiliar with our
roads and the conditions.
"We'd encourage everybody to take a patient approach and
think about their fellow road-users and abstain from any
driving habits that might put others at risk."
Snr Sgt Fookes said given the large number of licensed
premises in Queenstown, quite a number of seasonal workers
were employed in bars.
"They are a very valuable resource in setting the tone for
the place and we would encourage them to meet their
obligations under the Sale of Liquor Act."
Summer weather also encouraged people to explore the Wakatipu
back-country and waterways. However, this could lead to more
incidents which called for police search and rescue.
Snr Sgt Fookes said trampers should make themselves aware of
the weather forecast, the terrain, and pack the appropriate
clothes, boots, food and maps. He advised people to carry
personal locator beacons, particularly if venturing into
remote areas, and comply with fire bans.