Police issue drink spike warning ahead of New Year festivals

Police are urging festivalgoers to take care over New Year celebrations – and in particular to watch their drinks.

This weekend will see Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne and Rhythm and Alps near Wānaka among music events ushering in 2024.

Police issued statements on both festivals this morning, urging people to take care of themselves and their friends.

“Be sensible, and make sure everyone gets home safely,” a spokesperson said.

“Always have a plan on how to get to and from an event safely.

“Have a plan b and keep an eye on your alcohol consumption, always eat something substantial if you are planning to drink and encourage your friends to do the same.”

Police also warned people to be careful of drink spiking.

“Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks you haven’t seen poured, the last thing you want is somebody tampering with your drink.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure our friends and whānau are safe this summer, so keep an eye out and report any concerns you have,” a spokesperson said, adding that people should also be mindful of their valuables.

“Having your valuables stolen can ruin your celebrations.

“If you are taking a car to the festival, make sure all valuables are kept out of sight, all doors are locked, and the windows are up.

“Keep your phone, keys and wallet in a safe place that is unlikely to easily fall out of a pocket.”

Police officers and security will be at both of the popular festivals.

Anyone who feels unsafe is asked to call 111, and anyone with non-urgent concerns is asked to call 105.

“During New Year we often see a peak in people driving on the roads, so be patient, keep calm, drive sober and if you are feeling tired – pull over,” the spokesperson added. “All drivers can expect to be breath-tested daily throughout the event.”

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