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Stiffer penalties for bad behaviour

Thursday, 17th April, 2014

Constable Luke Porritt will be part of an increased police presence in Broken Hill over the Easter long weekend. Constable Luke Porritt will be part of an increased police presence in Broken Hill over the Easter long weekend.

By Nick Gibbs

Police have warned residents to behave in public or run the risk of severe penalties.

Fines in NSW for certain offences have risen dramatically.

From March 31, offensive conduct and offensive language penalties have risen from $200 to $500, while continued intoxicated behaviour has jumped from $200 to $1100.

“It is only fair that some bleated words of warning are given,” said Barrier LAC Acting Commander Mick Stoltenberg 

To his knowledge, no charges have been laid since the increases were introduced.

Mr Stoltenberg was confident the harsher penalties would serve as a deterrent against the offences, especially in regard to drunken behaviour. 

He said that if alcohol clouded a person’s judgement during a night out, the repercussions felt the morning after may help curb future indiscretions. 

“If someone wakes up the next day with a fist full of fines I would hope it would serve as a big wake up call.” 

He also hoped the $500 fine for offensive language would encourage people to consider their surroundings as swearing becomes increasingly common in day to day conversation.  

“People need to take into account that even though it’s more freely used,, they need to be mindful of the people in their immediate surroundings.”

Children and families were among those who might be most offended by foul language, Mr Stoltenberg said. 

The warning comes as Barrier Local Area Command officers prepare for the Easter long weekend traffic safety campaign. “Operation Tortoise.” 

As of 12:01am today, an increased police presence will focus on offences related to speeding, alcohol and drug-affected drivers, seatbelts, helmets, mobile phone use and fatigued drivers of heavy vehicles. 

“We want people to be in the same shape as they are at the end of the Easter holiday as they are at the start of it,”  Mr Stoltenberg said.

Australian Trucking Association Chief Executive Stuart St Clair also had some advice for drivers travelling this weekend who weren’t accustomed to sharing the road with heavy vehicles.

“Trucks use their full lane, so if you need to pull off the road, makes sure you park well clear of the roadway,”  he said.

“If a slower vehicle is being overtaken by a truck, it’s essential to maintain your speed and stay in your lane.” 

The operation will run until 11:59pm on Easter Monday.  

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