Australia nabs 1,600 ‘boozed-up idiots’


Mon, May 16, 2011 - Page 4

Australia’s binge-drinking culture has been starkly highlighted with 1,600 “boozed-up idiots” arrested by police in a weekend crackdown on alcohol-fueled violence and crime.

The trans-Tasman “Operation Unite,” a two-day blitz on public alcohol abuse and related crime, was the latest attempt to hammer home the message that drunken thugs will not be tolerated.

In New Zealand, 338 alcohol-related arrests were made and 467 motorists had positive breath tests.

Almost two-thirds of the arrests in Australia were made in New South Wales (NSW), followed by Western Australia, and included numerous assaults on police officers. Other offenses included drunk driving, urinating in public, failing to quit a licensed premises when asked and resisting arrest.

“Operation Unite has proved that our culture of alcohol and violence is out of control, with boozed-up idiots running wild all over the country,” Pat Gooley, acting president of the Police Association of NSW, said in a statement. “We need a comprehensive strategy for tackling alcohol-fueled violence — one that addresses the causes of the problem, not just the symptoms.”