More alcohol bans in Christchurch suburbs

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Stricter rules around drinking on the street are in the pipeline following calls from police.

At the city council regulatory performance committee meeting yesterday, a report recommending changes to permanent alcohol restrictions on the streets of Addington, Riccarton, Ilam, New Brighton, Linwood and Burnside were approved.

Canterbury area prevention manager Acting Inspector Paul Reeves said police were working with the city council on a 10-year review of the alcohol restrictions in public places bylaw.

“Essentially to help mitigate any harm drinking alcohol in public can cause,” he said.

“It gives us an option when we do come across trouble or an incident related to drinking. From there, we can give the offender a warning or even prosecution . . . The bans give us the power to be able to react.”

Although Acting Inspector Reeves said Christchurch was “no worse” for drinking on the street than any other major city, he said there were “hot locations” included in the bylaw review.

Pre-loading in cars and on streets before concerts in Addington has prompted calls to make the 9am-10pm ban for New Zealand Trotting Cup Day permanent all year round.

Acting Inspector Reeves said police often have issues in this area. They want the permanent ban in place due to frequent events at Addington Raceway, Horncastle Arena and AMI Stadium.

“Police suggest that the council consider making the Addington ban apply 24 hours per day, seven days a week. This is because of the ongoing problems related to people drinking in the streets and pre-loading and side-loading,” a city council report said.

VBase called for a permanent ban last year following reports of abuse of staff from drunk patrons.

“VBase, which runs both AMI Stadium and Horncastle Arena facilities, requested an alcohol ban be applied . . . to stop people pre-loading in the car parks before attending events and to curb intoxication assaults and lewd behaviour,” the report said.

VBase general manager Mark Bodman told The Star in a security guard was assaulted during a Broods concert in 2016.

The permanent ban was rejected by the Spreydon-Cashmere Community Board, which said there was no “compelling evidence” to support it.

“Police regularly monitor music concerts at Horncastle Arena and share the view of VBase that pre-loading around the venue has been an issue.”

The report said the permanent alcohol ban area near Canterbury University also needed to be extended to cover Ilam Primary School.

The report revealed in Ilam and Riccarton there were 1077 alcohol disorder offences last year.

But while police believe alcohol will always remain an issue due to the student population partying and pre-loading in the area, they said the number of offences has dropped “significantly” since a permanent ban was introduced in 2014.

“By making it [Ilam Primary School] part of the alcohol ban area, it will help to prevent any antisocial behaviours caused by alcohol drinking occurring in the school area,” the report said.

Riccarton Racecourse was also listed on the proposal for additional alcohol bans.

A temporary alcohol ban is enforced on Cup Day, but police “strongly” want to make the ban permanent in order to reduce alcohol-fulled incidents and pre-loading.

“The problems associated with pre-loading typically manifest as violence, property damage, assaults, intimidation, disorderly behaviour and littering within and around the event venue,” the report said.

There were two instances of alcohol-related disorder calls last year. But police say those calls remain low due to their presence at the venue.

Meanwhile, a green light was also given to making the temporary liquor ban in Linwood Village permanent.

“There is still drinking and drug use as well as begging seen in the area, even with the alcohol ban. However, police have noted that nuisance behaviour related to alcohol consumption has reduced significantly since the ban was imposed.”

Alcohol-related offences have dropped 11 per cent since the temporary ban was introduced. Drunk custody has also fallen by 50 per cent.

Although a ban is already in place through New Brighton mall and on part of Marine Pde, police say Thomson Park and Rawhiti Domain also need to be included.

“Police note the two new large scale events will be happening in Thomson Park and Rawhiti Domain . . . police believe that there is likely incidents of disorder caused by excessive drinking of alcohol by those attending,” the report said.

However, alcohol-related disorder in New Brighton is most often related to “local residents and not to visitors,” it said.

Police data shows there were 147 alcohol-related calls from the New Brighton area last year. The area is labelled moderate to high-risk for alcohol-related harm.

“A high level of crime or disorder caused or made worse by people consuming alcohol in the area is likely to arise in the New Brighton area if the ban is not continued,” the report said.

The Jellie Park Recreation and Sports Centre site is bound by an alcohol ban. But Greers and Ilam Rds, which the park is on, are not included. It is proposed to extend the ban to cover all sides of the road.

There were eight alcohol related calls to the area last year. The report said that had declined over the last five years.

“There are areas adjacent to Jellie Park where groups of people may congregate to consume alcohol with associated antisocial behaviour arising . . . it is also an area where sexual offending has occurred, such as indecent exposure.”

Acting Inspector Reeves said all of the changes were about strengthening police power to intervene.

“It’s purely prevention. It’s about helping people, helping the people drinking as well.”

The changes to the bylaw go before the city council today for sign off. They will then go to a hearings panel, which will report back on the final form of the bylaw.

•HAVE YOUR SAY: Would you like to see permanent liquor bans in these areas? Are there any areas you think should have a ban? Email your views to julia.evans@starmedia.kiwi

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