Sgt John Higgins from the Yarrawonga Police is hoping to have a quiet Christmas season this year.FIONA BLICK December 19, 2013 4:09pm
Even so, to ensure people’s safety, he said extra police will be sourced from Wangaratta for a six week period.
“This need will be assessed on a day to day basis with up to two extra police members available per day,” Sgt Higgins said.
“It will also be ‘all hands on deck’ for the local force so we will be a visible and active presence throughout the community.”
A zero tolerance policy is in place throughout the holidays particularly after the horrific triple tragedy on the roads this time last year that required the resources of all emergency personnel including ambulance officers, SES, local fire brigades and the police.
“We are pleading with people to look after their mates, use a designated driver, don’t use a mobile phone while you are driving and if going on a longer trip make sure you are well rested,” Sgt Higgins said. “We have a zero tolerance for all traffic offences and we will not apologise for this.”
He said a particular focus over Christmas and New Year will be a crack down on drink and drug drivers.
“We are targeting drink and drug driving; this is aimed at removing all impaired drivers from the roads,” Sgt Higgins said.
“We will stop stupid, reckless people causing harm to themselves and others over these holidays. “All we want is for everyone to have a good time at Christmas and arrive home safely.”
Group Officer Jeff Nunn, head of the Yarrawonga group of fire brigades, reiterated Sgt Higgins’ warning and called for commonsense this summer season.
“We also have a zero tolerance policy in place on total fire ban days which extends to using machinery which may cause a spark,” Mr Nunn said.
“We had two fires last week, at Telford and Almonds, which could well have turned into a serious situation.
“They were both caused by cars driving through and parking in long grass.”
Mr Nunn said eight acres were burnt at Telford and a further four at Almonds.
“People are doing the right thing by pulling over if they have to use their mobile phones or to have a rest break but what they may not realise is if they pull over in long grass the underside of their cars are extremely hot, hot enough to start the vegetation smouldering,” he said.
“If, for whatever reason, you have to pull over, just be aware what is around you, and more importantly, underneath you.”
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