Increasing numbers of people have been getting in the Christmas spirit following the easing of restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, leading ACT Policing’s Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan to encourage all Canberrans to party safely, drink responsibly, and look out for their mates as the summer season kicks into gear.
He says ACT Policing doesn’t want to be the ‘fun police’ this festive season.
CPO Gaughan said police will increase their presence in Canberra’s bars, clubs and suburbs to ensure that people celebrate the year within their limits.
“It’s no secret Canberrans love to celebrate over summer and police certainly don’t want to spoil the fun,” CPO Gaughan said.
“Preventing most cases of alcohol-related violence and crime comes down to behaving responsibly and stopping minor matters from escalating.
“Not only do alcohol and drugs make it harder for you to communicate effectively, they also impact your ability to reason and make decisions.
“When combined, these factors put you at a greater risk of committing a crime or becoming a victim yourself.”
Last year, alcohol-fuelled assaults fell for the second summer in a row, with the number of reported assaults falling by 23 per cent in 2018-19 and down 33 per cent from 2017-18.
Infringement notices for anti-social behaviour and consuming alcohol in public were also down by 25 per cent compared to last summer. ACT Policing is encouraging everyone to celebrate responsibly to see these positive trends continue in 2020.
CPO Gaughan also said motor vehicle accidents resulting in injury had fallen by 20 per cent for 2020 when compared to the same time last year.
“The festive season is a busy time for retailers and when the shops are full, so are the car parks and adjacent roadways.
“With tight roads and a constant flow of drivers parking and reversing, car parks can be tricky to navigate at the best of times, so drivers should exercise extra caution in the Christmas congestion,” CPO Gaughan said.
He added that police will be present in Canberra’s suburbs to ensure Canberrans are still adhering to the COVID-safe message that needed to be reinforced.
ACT Policing members will continue to work throughout the holiday period patrolling licensed premises, entertainment precincts to support the ACT Health COVID-19 directions and continuing to focus on impaired and unsafe driving on the roads.
“COVID-19 will also make this a Christmas like no other, so if you are heading out to crowded places this summer, make sure you observe social distancing and obey all health directions so we can keep the ACT COVID-safe.
“Now is not the time for complacency. You must still check into restaurants and provide your correct details, which has been shown to be very effective in helping to manage outbreaks interstate,” he said.