Police to be out in force

LAKE Illawarra Police will be out in force during the Christmas/New Year period and are reminding the public of the dangers of drink-driving and alcohol-fuelled violence.

Police statewide will conduct Operation Safe Arrival from December 20-January 2.

Acting sergeant Gareth Neil of the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command [LILAC] highway patrol unit, said targeting speed, alcohol, restraints and fatigue were key to ensuring that those heading to holiday destinations did so safely.

He said police would have an even greater presence on the roads, day and night.

"We'll have almost 24-hour coverage on the majority of days, and extended patrols on main arterial roads," he said.

"There's more people on the road and an increased traffic flow though our area, resulting in a few more minor accidents.

"Take your time on the roads, rather than try and rush to your location.

"Don't drink and drive, take breaks every few hours, make sure everyone in the vehicle has their restraints on."

Last Friday and Saturday, Lake Illawarra Police participated in the national, annual Operation Unite blitz on alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour. This included local and joint operations with the Wollongong LAC, focused on locations they felt need greater attention, such as licensed premises and transport links.

LILAC community safety officer, sergeant Jason Harrison said that the Christmas/New Year period also sparked an increase in cases of domestic violence.

"This is mainly because there is an increased amount of drinking at this time of year," he said.

"It can be stressful at this time of year to spend time with family and spend money to host get-togethers, fund presents and just generally enjoy this time of year.

"There's an expectation you'll have to spend some money. This translates to frustration.

"People already with strained relationships or anger management issues can quickly resort to violence."

Acting sergeant Neil also warned of the dangers of heavy drinking during this period.

"People [can be] caught the next day," he said. "It could be 12 hours after their last drink, but they had such a big night that they're over the limit.

"If you've had a big night on the drink, [you may] need a 24-hour rest to be safe, before you jump in the car and drive."

Police reminded drivers to lock their vehicles and keep valuables out of sight.

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