ALBURY policeman David Cottee calls it a “sliding doors moment”.
It’s a moment where one decision could change a life and it’s a moment, Insp Cottee says, Border punters are more likely to face on Australia Day compared with any other public holiday.
“One punch could cause a person to fall to the ground, hit concrete and cause much more damage,” Insp Cottee said.
“I have attended such incidents and it’s very sad.
“Not only is the person who’s injured or been killed affected, but its their families and the families and life of a perpetrator.”
EDITORIAL: Don't chance our good luck
Police yesterday said Australia Day was the nation’s most violent public holiday with Victoria Police statistics showing there were 121 non-family assaults last year against 69 on any other day.
Wodonga police were attacked last Australia Day when an underage party went wrong.
And Insp Cottee said Albury police had been called numerous times to Noreuil Park and Mungabareena Reserve.
“It’s an issue of alcohol and people gathering. Physical contact and alcohol don’t mix,” he said.
Police on both sides of the border launch operations today in a bid to reduce trauma at holiday hotspots and on the roads.
Albury police will home in on such hot-spots as Noreuil Park, Mungabareena Reserve and the Pines while Wod- onga police will monitor the Lake Hume, Rutherglen and the alpine region.
Wodonga highway patrol’s acting Sgt Mal Burdett said more police would be on the roads targeting alcohol, drugs, speed and fatigue to make sure people remained safe.
Sgt Burdett urged drivers to be patient.
“It doesn’t matter if it takes an extra few minutes. There will be a lot of traffic on the roads. Just be patient,” he said.
“It’s no longer acceptable to speed even a little bit. If you speed, you place yourself and loved ones at more risk.”
Their plea for safety comes in a week when NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced sweeping changes to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence, including an eight-year mandatory sentence for fatal one-punch assaults.
Victorian Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright said the nation has seen it only takes one punch for someone’s life to end or change.
“These are cowardly attacks with devastating effects,” he said.
“They ruin lives and shatter families.
“Why don’t we all stop and reflect on this thought this Australia Day? It might save lives.”