Police to have strong New Year's presence

Think before you drink, and don't start the new year with a criminal record - that is the message from the region's police as they prepare to hit the streets for New Year's Eve.

Huge crowds are expected to descend on Belmore Basin, which will be the focal point for Wollongong's celebrations.

But there will be plenty of heaving nightspots and parties to keep Wollongong and Lake Illawarra police busy.

Inspector Steve Hegarty said Wollongong police would be out in force, with public order and riot squad officers, and the dog squad also part of the high-visibility campaign.

He said police would be firm but fair so that everyone had a good time - "but not at the expense of other people's safety".

"New Year's Eve should be an enjoyable occasion for everybody, it's not a time that should be ruined by dangerous, criminal or antisocial behaviour," he said.

Police will be enforcing alcohol-free zones and have the power to dispose of booze.

Lake Illawarra police community safety officer Sergeant Jason Harrison said parties would be one of the command's biggest challenges on Monday night.

"The message for us with drinking is to look out for your mates, look out for yourself, and keep safe," he said.

"Make sure there's a responsible person in charge and make sure they are aware of what's going on and that they are on top of who's involved."

He said one of the main challenges for police was that people at house parties had access to large quantities of alcohol served, without being measured.

"A lot of alcohol over a short period of time and the fallout is a lot of intoxicated people," Sgt Harrison said.

Speaking to neighbours to give them the heads-up about the party beforehand could also prevent issues, he said.

He urged people to register their parties at www.mynite.com.au.

Lake Illawarra police will also have a drug bus to conduct random driver testing.

HOSTING A SAFE PARTY AT HOME

What to consider before throwing a party:

• Parking in the street that blocks access to and from private driveways.

• Noise from music, singing and yelling.

• Party guests interfering with neighbours’ private land.

• Providing neighbours with contact numbers so they can speak directly with the host about any concerns.

• Letting neighbours know when the party will end. In most cases this will help them feel more at ease about the party.

• Avoid sending invitations via social media sites.

• Not allowing children under 18 to host a party without adult attendance and supervision.

Source: NSW Police

Pictured: Inspector Steve Hegarty, Constable Lawrence Norris (with dog), Senior Constable Ben Apps and Senior Constable Liam Watson at Belmore Basin. Photo: ORLANDO CHIODO

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