Senior police are pleading with the public to celebrate the festive season safely and within their limits in Northern NSW.
School holidays have started for students across the region, while thousands of families are making final preparations to travel on the main highways and roads to be with family and friends this Christmas period.
Officers will be out patrolling high density holiday towns, as well as suburban areas and rural towns, targeting anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related violence.
Meanwhile, officers attached to Traffic & Highway Patrol will be out in numbers on all major arterial roads and rural backroads during Operation Safe Arrival – which is in place from today (12.01am on Friday 20 December 2019) and ends 11.59pm on New Year’s Day (Wednesday 1 January 2020).
Double demerit points will be in force throughout the period for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences.
Northern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell APM, said the Christmas holidays are a time for celebration, but all that police want is for everyone to do so in a safe environment.
“This is the time of year people want to spend with their loved ones – our job is to make sure you can enjoy the festive season safely and without disruption.
“With people catching up for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations across Northern NSW, we will be on the lookout for those who wish to cause trouble and ruin the fun for others. If you’re drinking, have a plan B and leave the car keys at home and watch over your mates while at local pubs and clubs.
“Emergency services don’t get the holiday period off, we are out there in our local community to ensure everyone is having a good time but also knows their limits.
“Christmas is also a time when thousands of people are commuting between destinations. Please remember to always take regular breaks and not drive fatigued or distracted – the salads, prawns and Christmas crackers can wait. We want to ensure everyone gets to their destination safe and well,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said.
Police would also like to remind the public about home safety and security during the Christmas holiday period.
“Thieves don’t take a holiday – they often use this opportunistic time to break into homes while families are out of town,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said.
“If you are planning on travelling away, please make sure that homes are locked and secure, that security systems, door, windows, alarms and lights are properly installed and activated, that all perimeter fences are in good order kept closed and locked to restrict unauthorised access to your property, and that any valuables are kept out of clear view.
“Have family, a trusted friend or neighbour check on your home. Ask them to check your bins and mail and check on the home daily.
“Many families also head along the coast in caravans and campervans. Please remember to lock all cabin and caravan windows and door, even when going to sleep, never leave valuables in view and don’t leave valuables in the open overnight, such as surfboards, wetsuits, eskies and bikes,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said.