POLL: Tough move on street offences

PARTYGOERS heading out for a night on the town this weekend should beware it doesn't turn into an expensive night out.

Police are warning they are ramping up a campaign to issue on-the-spot fines for drunken and loutish behaviour.

The introduction of so-called "consequence policing" has seen an upsurge of infringement notices handed to drunken revellers over the past several weeks.

Fines range from $200 for throwing away a lit cigarette to $400 for spitting on a railway platform and $550 for failing to leave a pub.

"Police are now very active and very focused on taking action on that poor behaviour to try and change some of the culture in the city," Newcastle City local area commander Superindent John Gralton warned yesterday.

Alcohol-related crime was at an all-time low, he said, and police aimed to keep it that way.

"This is a period where we could reasonably expect offences to be rising given that is is heading into summer and around the festive season but those offences are dropping dramatically across the command," Superintendent Gralton said.

"So it is a good news story for the city and it demonstrates that it is growing culturally and is a safer place."

Beat police are regularly handing out up to 15 fines a week.

And this weekend will see an even bigger police presence on Newcastle streets as the force instigates Operation Unite.

"We want to send a message, a very, very clear message - come to Newcastle and you can have fun but don't play up," Superintendent Gralton said.

WHAT YOU CAN BE FINED

Fail to quit licensed premises: $550

Offensive conduct/behaviour: $250 or arrest

Offensive language: $150 or arrest

Wilfully spit on train or platform: $400

Deposit lit cigarette: $200

Cross rail line: $400

Obstruct person or vehicle: $200

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