Cairns police plan booze blitz
THE entire region will be targeted tonight and tomorrow night as part of the Australia and New Zealand-wide Operation Unite.
Cairns Insp Jim Plowman hopes it will help curb a "culture" of alcohol consumption in the Far North, over the weekend.
"There's probably a bit of an unhealthy culture in Far North Queensland where a lot of people really give it a belting and over-consume and don't have a good night out unless they really write themselves off," he said.
"When people drink to excess they become a higher chance of being a victim or an offender."
Insp Plowman said the numbers of officers taking to the CBD streets would be "over and above" the number of extra staff working the beat as part of Operation Escalate.
"In addition to that, every suburb throughout Cairns, the northern beaches, Mareeba and Innisfail districts ... they're also bolstering their numbers this weekend.''
Cairns Base Hospital emergency department's Dr Jim Reeves sees first-hand the effects of alcohol-fuelled events and applauds the police crackdown.
"There isn't a day where we don't see people who come here with an alcohol-related problem," he said.
"Every weekend morning we have to discharge numerous patients who have been kept in overnight, occupying beds with alcohol-related injuries or mental disorders."
He admitted he has been a victim of both physical and verbal assaults and cases had been on the rise everywhere in Australia, including Cairns, for several years.
"Once patients come in, compared to a few years ago, we have a full compliment of security staff who are available in the emergency department at all times and that's something where the need for them has risen progressively and significantly over the years," he said.
"Staff here are exposed to a lot of anti-social behaviour from verbal abuse to physical violence."
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Joining forces: Inspector Jim Plowman and Dr Jim Reeves. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS