13 Dec 2009

Call to make being drunk in public an offence

5:05 pm on 13 December 2009

New Zealand's Hospitality Association believes being intoxicated in public should be made an offence.

Police have been out in force throughout New Zealand and Australia this weekend as part of Operation Unite, a crackdown on drunken violence and anti-social behaviour.

Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson says police tend to target licensed premises but this is inappropriate, considering 70% of alcohol is consumed away from bars and restaurants.

Mr Robertson says many people drink cheap alcohol at home, then come into town and cause problems.

He says there is currently no signal that drinking to excess is wrong, and making it illegal to be intoxicated in public would be a good place to start.

In New Zealand, the total cost of crime due to alcohol and drug misuse is estimated at $1.1 billion a year.

Police increased the numbers of officers patrolling streets and bars and conducting drink-drive tests at the weekend.