POLICE concerns about youth drinking are growing after drunken teenagers assaulted a man at Coastlands on Saturday night.
The assault is one of numerous complaints made to Whakatane Police during the past two weekends related to large groups of youths drinking at the beach.
Concern for youth drinking and liquor ban breaches is growing and police plan to increase patrols in the Eastern Bay over the summer and take any necessary enforcement action – including arrest or a $250 instant fine.
Sergeant Caoin Macey said concerns stemmed from the past two weekends when large groups of youths, aged between 15 and 17, had congregated on beaches near Omega Place and Bunyan Road to drink.
Police received numerous calls for service following the most recent gathering on Saturday, December 2, including one from a motorist who was stopped by an intoxicated group of youths leaving Coastlands.
“The group damaged his vehicle and assaulted him resulting in his hospitalisation.”
Mr Macey said a large amount of rubbish was left behind on each occasion, which posed a hazard to other beach users, especially children.
“Of additional concern to police is the violence, property damage and general disorder which tends to follow uncontrolled youth drinking.”
Mr Macey said in some cases, parents or caregivers appeared to have been dropping their children off at the parties.
Police want to remind residents and visitors that all of Coastlands beaches and reserves east of Omega Place and all of Ohope’s beaches and reserves are covered by the district’s liquor ban.
Police had a range of powers for enforcing this liquor ban including the option to search for liquor, warn, arrest or issue an instant $250 infringement notice, he said.
Those aged under 18 found in possession of or consuming alcohol and not in the presence of their parent or guardian were also committing additional offences under the Sale of Liquor Act and were liable for an instant $250 infringement notice or arrest if officers suspected they were lying about their identity.
“People can expect that youth drinking will have a renewed focus going into the summer festive season and offenders can expect to receive infringement notices, especially in the Coastlands area,” he said.
Liquor ban times and areas
The Whakatane central business district, Hillcrest Road (including the Seaview Road car park), the Heads and River Edge Park, Kopeopeo business district, Otarawairere, Kohi Point Scenic Reserve, Taneatua, Murupara, Te Teko and Edgecumbe are subject to permanent restrictions at these times:
- Thursday 6pm – Friday 6am
- Friday 6pm – Saturday 6am
- Saturday 6pm – Sunday 6am
- Sunday 12pm – 12am
All public places in Ohope, including reserves, roads and beaches, and all public places in the Coastlands and Piripai area, including reserves, roads and beaches, are subject to permanent restrictions at these times:
- Thursday 9pm – Friday 6am
- Friday 9pm – Saturday 6am
- Saturday 9pm – Sunday 6am
- Sunday 9pm – 12am
There is a 24-hour liquor ban during the Christmas and New Year period, from December 24 to January 5, in all areas stated above.