Police unite in blitz on crime

A QUIET night greeted police officers on the streets of Launceston during the second half of Operation Unite last night.

The Australia and New Zealand- wide police blitz against alcohol- related crime was held over Friday and Saturday nights.

The Examiner followed a team of police on patrol before 9pm yesterday.

Northern Commander Richard Cowling, the state co-ordinator of Operation Unite, praised the crowds for their good behaviour.

"We're not here to be the fun police," he said.

"We just want to ensure that people get home safely."

A random breath-testing station in Wellington Street, outside QVMAG Royal Park, diverted traffic into two lanes to breath-test motorists.

Officers stopped a young man driving a black Toyota sports car and examined what was under the hood.

Police on the beat then turned their attention to revellers in the bustling Star Bar Hotel in Charles Street.

But patrons wondered what all the fuss was about.

"I've never seen so many of you together before," a woman by the entrance proclaimed to the boys and girls in blue - and fluoro yellow.

A man sitting at a long dining table lifted a glass of wine to police when they entered the bar.

"What are you guys doing here?" a puzzled bartender asked the media, before being offered a brief explanation.

A gathering of women wearing reindeer antlers tried to gain the attention of passing officers, without success.

Police then walked down a deserted Charles Street towards the Brisbane Street Mall, a show of force for the television cameraman in tow.

Operation Unite involved police having a high visibility presence in the entertainment precincts of Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. The annual campaign aims to raise community awareness about the dangers of excessive drinking.

About 70 officers worked statewide across both nights specifically for the operation. Almost 30 were deployed in Launceston last night.

Statewide, on the first night of Operation Unite, from 6pm Friday to 6am Saturday, one public place assault was reported; three people were arrested, mostly for public annoyance offences; eight people were arrested for drink-driving, and 21 liquor infringement notices were issued.

Police will prosecute four people for a range of offences.

Last night, five people were arrested in Hobart, three in Devonport and zero in Launceston.

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