Border crackdown -- Police putting foot down on street crime
By SAMANTHA HEALY
DRUNKEN and drug-fuelled louts, hoons and street bullies planning a night-out on the Southern Gold Coast this weekend be warned the police will be out in force cracking down on street crime.
The crackdown, dubbed Operation Border, began on Thursday night, with Queensland police from Burleigh CIB, traffic and the various stations, focusing on the Coolangatta area.
The net will widen over the weekend with an extra 30 police on duty targeting areas as far north as Broadbeach. In the Tweed, high-visibility police operations will also be conducted to coincide with fireworks celebrations at Jack Evans Boat Harbour.
Tweed Crime Co-ordinator Sergeant Stuart Crawford said police would spend today final- ising warrants before stepping up patrols at the fireworks, targeting alcohol-related offences.
"If anyone thinks that Queensland and NSW police don't talk they are kidding themselves," Sgt Crawford said.
"We meet regularly to discuss the crooks on both sides of the border and we have what are called special constables who can move between the two jurisdictions."
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In the first night of operations, Thursday night and yesterday morning, police busted an array of traffic offenders, fining or charging 33 motorists.
Offences ranged from car defects to speeding offences, 13 people were caught and charged for licence offences, one disqualified driver and one unlicensed driver were also caught.
Police officers also fined two people for drunken disorderly offences and two were caught with drugs and drug utensils in their possession.
"We will be targeting street and driving offences and drug offences," Acting Det Snr Sgt Michael Bolin said.
"And through things like traffic stops, we often find other things like drugs when we search a car. The message to people is, if you are planning to cause trouble don't do it on the southern Gold Coast."
Det Snr Sgt Bolin, who is attached to Burleigh Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), would not say what spurred police to set up the operation, but did say the planning for the weekend-long blitz had been in the pipeline for several weeks.
"It's a proactive policing operation," Det Snr Sgt Bolin said.
"We run these types of operations whenever there is a big event. This is just about targeting normal weekend crime.
"There are ongoing problems in Tweed Heads and Coolangatta such as hooning and alcohol-related violence.
"This is about driving down crime in the area."
Licensed premises may also be targeted, but late-night businesses, who often wear the brunt of alcohol-fuelled behaviour say an increased police presence in Coolangatta should continue.
"We had cameras installed because of teh trouble here on weekends," one business owner said.
"To be honest I hope they continue the crackdown.
"We've had fights inside the store, outside, glass broken.
"It's the teens, too young to go to the pub, who think they are untouchable.
"There's more trouble in Coolangatta than anywhere else I think."