With many of those celebrating the arrival of the new year expected to gather at Wairarapa beaches and in town centres, police are preparing for all sorts of shenanigans by putting extra resourcing in place.
About 16 additional officers will be working in the region between now and New Year’s Day, some of them coming from Wellington to lend a hand.
As in previous years, a liquor ban and road closures around Riversdale and Castlepoint beaches are in force from 6pm tonight to 6am on Monday, January 1, with police completing regular patrols of the areas.
High visibility engagement with the public at holiday hotspots “is the common thread through all our prevention activity across the district” over this period, Sergeant Steve Cameron said.
“We want visibility, trust, and confidence. We’re not the moral police. We’re just saying, ‘Go and enjoy yourself. But we will also be around to help you if you need a hand’.”
Some of the extra officers working over the weekend will be road police, while others are public safety staff.
While celebrations are expected at several traditional hotspots across Wairarapa, the heightened policing presence will continue through the summer months as people explore the region.
There were two instances this week in which police were alerted to potential rescue situations, the first involving a tramper who failed to return on time from Tararua Forest Park and the second a group of divers who hadn’t made contact in some time.
The missing tramper was later confirmed to have returned home of their own accord, while all the divers were eventually accounted for.
Senior Sergeant Gill Flower said that while those events didn’t escalate into serious problems or remove resourcing from the beat, people need to be prepared if they find themselves in those situations.
“We are adequately resourced for that, but it does take time to retrieve them and find them,” she said.
The increased police presence in the summer period is based on community needs, especially as the extended school holidays fall within the warmer months.
“We police to demand,” Flower said, “so when there’s more people out, you’ll see more police about.”