Police plead for safe festive celebrations

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Newcastle City Police District Commander, Superintendent Brett Greentree, says the “salads, prawns and Christmas crackers can wait” as thousands of families make final preparations to travel on major highways and roads.

While the festive period is a time for celebration, Superintendent Greentree urges 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,” he says.

“Emergency services don’t get Christmas Day off – we are out there in our local community to ensure everyone is having a good time but also knowing their limits.
“Christmas is also be a time when thousands of people are commuting between destinations.

“Please remember – do not drink and drive and always take regular breaks.

“We want to ensure everyone gets to their destination safe and well.”
Double demerit points will be in force for speeding, drink driving, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences during Operation Safe Arrival, which starts at midnight tonight (Thursday 19 December).

The State Government has launched its mobile phone detection system in a further bid to crackdown on illegal users.

Fixed and portable cameras were switched on across NSW on 1 December, with warning letters to be issued for the first three months.

Offending drivers are then set to receive five demerit points and a $344 fine, or $457 in a school zone.

The penalty increases to 10 demerit points during double demerit periods.

Apart from the roads, Newcastle-based officers will patrol the CBD and suburbs to target anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related violence.

Superintendent Greentree says police also want to remind the public about home safety and security during the Christmas holiday period.

“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,” he says.

“Thieves don’t take a holiday – they often use this opportunistic time to break into homes while families are out of town.
“Have family, a trusted friend or neighbour check on your home.”

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