Festive season’s alcohol abuse an annual challenge

Resources stretched as some in community over indulge.

Resources stretched as some in community over indulge.

Gisborne Courthouse

AN INCREASE in family harm incidents, dishonesty offending and other incidents over the festive season can be easily attributed to too much alcohol, says Senior Sergeant Lincoln Sycamore.

His comments are in response to the court appearances that flowed out of Christmas-New Year in Gisborne.

“The festive period presents a challenge every year for police.

“The court statistics represented in your story (page 1) are only a portion of the workload police dealt with over the festive season,” Snr Sgt Sycamore said.

“We do what we can to prepare for known festival events and we bring in extra staff to help with that.

“Our main goal throughout, whatever the time of year, is to maintain the trust and confidence of our community.

“Family harm incidents remain the biggest challenge for our community to resolve and Tairawhiti Police spend a massive amount of time dealing with them.”

Unofficially and anecdotally police can attend upward of 13 family harm incidents in a single shift, he said.

“Some days (24 hours) will see us at 35 different Gisborne addresses trying to help resolve reports of family harm.

“While the court statistics show the end result of one factor, the alleged offender, in what can be complex incidents, they do not show the harm and effect the actions of a few have on children, whanau and others,” Snr Sgt Sycamore said.

“As police we do our very best to resolve incidents of immediate harm, and generally speaking we get it right most of the time.

“What we struggle with are long-term resolutions that address the root cause of these incidents.

“What we do know is that alcohol and substance abuse play a huge role in exacerbating relationship tensions,” he said.

“There is no easy answer to the family harm issue. What does work is when people who see something do something by calling police on 111.

“In terms of reducing family harm, we work as hard as we can with our community partners to empower families to help themselves.

“We have huge strength in our community and that strength comes from people who want to help.”

Non-government organisations like iwi service providers work hard to provide necessary assistance, as do many others like the church community, Snr Sgt Sycamore said.

“There is help available for those who need it. See something — do something. Call 111.”

AN INCREASE in family harm incidents, dishonesty offending and other incidents over the festive season can be easily attributed to too much alcohol, says Senior Sergeant Lincoln Sycamore.

His comments are in response to the court appearances that flowed out of Christmas-New Year in Gisborne.

“The festive period presents a challenge every year for police.

“The court statistics represented in your story (page 1) are only a portion of the workload police dealt with over the festive season,” Snr Sgt Sycamore said.

“We do what we can to prepare for known festival events and we bring in extra staff to help with that.

“Our main goal throughout, whatever the time of year, is to maintain the trust and confidence of our community.

“Family harm incidents remain the biggest challenge for our community to resolve and Tairawhiti Police spend a massive amount of time dealing with them.”

Unofficially and anecdotally police can attend upward of 13 family harm incidents in a single shift, he said.

“Some days (24 hours) will see us at 35 different Gisborne addresses trying to help resolve reports of family harm.

“While the court statistics show the end result of one factor, the alleged offender, in what can be complex incidents, they do not show the harm and effect the actions of a few have on children, whanau and others,” Snr Sgt Sycamore said.

“As police we do our very best to resolve incidents of immediate harm, and generally speaking we get it right most of the time.

“What we struggle with are long-term resolutions that address the root cause of these incidents.

“What we do know is that alcohol and substance abuse play a huge role in exacerbating relationship tensions,” he said.

“There is no easy answer to the family harm issue. What does work is when people who see something do something by calling police on 111.

“In terms of reducing family harm, we work as hard as we can with our community partners to empower families to help themselves.

“We have huge strength in our community and that strength comes from people who want to help.”

Non-government organisations like iwi service providers work hard to provide necessary assistance, as do many others like the church community, Snr Sgt Sycamore said.

“There is help available for those who need it. See something — do something. Call 111.”

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