Wednesday, 15 October 2003 - 12:04pm |

Slow response to Hamilton liquor ban

2 min read

Police say the message may be slowly sinking in about Hamilton’s inner city liquor ban.

The ban was introduced on October 1 and makes it illegal to drink alcohol on central city streets between 6pm on a Thursday to 7am on a Sunday. The ban covers city streets, footpaths, service lanes, carparks, public places and reserves and is bounded by Mill St, Seddon Rd, Ward St, Anglesea St, Bridge St and the Waikato River.

Last weekend was the second weekend the ban was in place. Police warned 63 people about drinking in public, compared to 283 the previous weekend. Two people were arrested, compared to 5 the weekend before.

Head of the police’s Tactical Response Group, Sergeant Steve Hayman, said last Friday night was one of the &#34cleanest&#34 nights police had experienced in a long time.

&#34The number of general disorder offences and fights on the street were right down. We don’t know whether that had anything to do with the liquor ban, but we would like to think that there was perhaps some corelation.&#34

One person arrested last weekend had been warned by police the weekend before about drinking on the street.

Mr Hayman said most people were shocked when they were told about the liquor ban. Police have asked the council to put up more signs around town.

&#34We would rather see people learn about the ban through public education, rather than getting arrested.&#34

Police say the people they have been warning have been &#34across the board&#34 -- from 18-year-olds through to people in their mid-30s. Many people still did not know about the ban, Mr Hayman said.

Police have also come across several carloads of people parked on the side of the road drinking alcohol in cars. Their liquor was confiscated. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of young females drinking on the street.

Anyone found drinking on the street will be arrested and brought to Hamilton Central police station, where they will be charged with breaching the liquor ban.

Police will continue to warn people about the ban until the end of the month. After that, they will be arrested. But police will still use their discretion with anyone blatantly breaking the law and causing trouble.