Cops target drunk kids

DRUNKEN youths and their lackadaisical parents will come under the microscope of more than 300 police in charge of keeping the Australia Day peace in the Hunter tomorrow.

Acting Newcastle police chief Dean Olsen said under-age drinkers would be quickly reunited with their parents, who might also be investigated if there was evidence they supplied alcohol to  children.

‘‘Any major public holiday these days, whether it be New Year’s Eve or Australia Day, we are discovering groups of young people under the influence of alcohol who have tipped themselves over the edge and are impacting on other people,’’ acting Superintendent Olsen said.

‘‘By the time New Year’s Eve hit about 1am, the only people left on the streets were kids aged about 15.

‘‘So we are calling on parents to stay vigilant on where their children will be going on Australia Day, with whom and what they are going to be doing.

‘‘The message is, simply, if you are under-age you are not allowed to drink.

‘‘You are not only going to impact on other people trying to enjoy themselves, but they are going to possibly put themselves at risk of becoming victims of crime themselves.’’

The major parks and beaches across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens local area commands will be patrolled by up to 300 police working specifically on Australia Day crowd control.

Officers on trail bikes will also be visiting camping grounds across the Coalfields and Barrington Tops to keep the peace.

‘‘It is about keeping it a family-friendly day, where people can go and enjoy themselves without having to worry about being hassled by intoxicated persons,’’ Port Stephens acting local area commander Superintendent Trevor Shiels said.