Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Drink drivers targeted

Police vow to reduce alcohol-related road fatalities in the Cobram region.

ROB HENSON June 4, 2014 3:15am

Police have pledged to target the region’s drink-driving hot spots in response to alcohol-related fatal crashes.

It comes as local police statistics released last week reveal burglaries and drug offences have both risen more than 20 per cent.

Cobram Senior Sergeant Mick Logan said an operation to combat drink-driving had started on Sunday in the Wangaratta Police Service Area and would run until September.

‘‘Since March we’ve had two road fatalities in our (Moira) local government area and both are related to alcohol-affected drivers,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a big concern for us.’’

The incidents near Nathalia and Yarrawonga were single vehicle incidents, with the drivers veering off the road at high speeds.

‘‘Each (driver) was driving in a remote location late at night, each time alcohol-affected and certainly the opportunity existed in each incident for prevention, not just by police, but by the community as well,’’ Sen Sgt Logan said.

The head of Cobram police said the operation could target isolated areas, late at night, with a focus on people leaving licensed venues and events such as pubs, private parties or sporting functions.

‘‘We’re focused on reducing our fatalities, and also providing education to drivers, that it doesn’t matter what time of day or night, police will be around.

‘‘We’re not focused on getting 1000 PBTs (Personal Breath Tests). We’ll focus on intercepting people that think they can drive the short distance from the party to home.’’

In quarterly police statistics for the Wangaratta Police Service Area released last week, drug offences rose 20.3 per cent, to 403, for the year to March 2014.

In the same period residential burglaries rose 22.3 per cent, to 236.

Sen Sgt Logan said the rise in drug crime and burglaries was, ‘‘anecdotally’’, related.

‘‘Anecdotally I think they are related, certainly we don’t have concrete proof.

‘‘If the incidents of drug use is detected as rising, that’s more in the proactive work police are doing.’’

Continued on page 2.

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