Police say most revellers behaved well, but a few made poor New Year’s Eve choices

Genevieve Jacobs 1 January 2021
Police tape

Police say they’ll continue to patrol across the holiday period. Photo: File.

ACT Policing has given most Canberrans a thumbs up for responsible behaviour on New Year’s Eve. Crowd numbers were down on previous years and social distancing restrictions were mostly observed by revellers.

However, 17 people were taken into protective custody due to intoxication across the evening, including three juveniles. One P-plater has been served with an immediate suspension notice for drunk driving and another person was arrested for drug driving.

In total, police conducted 650 roadside breath tests.

One person was charged with assaulting police, one with possessing a knife in a public place, one for unlicensed driving and another for graffiti offences.

Superintendent Corey Heldon told media this morning that while the evening is always a busy one for police, they were largely pleased with crowd behaviour.

“Police had a presence in all town centres across Canberra, and while we did have some issues to deal with, on the whole, the crowds were well behaved.” Superintendent Heldon said.

“We did notice quite a reduction in crowd numbers compared to previous years, which is encouraging that Canberrans appeared to heed the advice to celebrate the New Year in a COVID-safe way.

“Police were also conducting checks to ensure venues were complying with social distancing requirements, and I’m pleased that no venues were found to be in breach of these restrictions.

“I’d also like to remind drivers that double demerits will remain in place until 11:59 pm Sunday, 3 January 2021.”

During the double demerit period, all speeding, seatbelt, and mobile phone offences attract double demerit points, as does riding without a helmet.

All other traffic offences will incur one additional demerit point.

Officer in Charge of Road Policing Detective Inspector Marcus Boorman said police would continue to be an active presence on the roads during the holiday period.

“If you want to be irresponsible on our roads and break the traffic laws, you will be caught. This is not about revenue raising; the fine does not increase during this period. This is about added consequences for doing the wrong thing on the roads,” Detective Inspector Boorman said.

“I’d like to remind anyone driving during this festive time to take that extra bit of time, to take care, and to look out for each other on the roads.”

ACT police are also encouraging Canberrans to report dangerous driving,

“If you see dangerous behaviour on our roads, I encourage you to contact police on the police assistance line on 131 444 or 000 if it is life-threatening.”


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