Wednesday, 22 June 2005 - 11:01am |

Lions roar into town

5 min read

Greeting the Barmy Army

Barmy Army Supporters and any other tourists caught up in the flow of rental car and camper van traffic leaving the Airport, will be greeted by a drink drive operation at the end of the week, says Canterbury Traffic Manager Inspector Derek Erasmus.

"We'll be greeting all travellers in bus groups and rental vehicles to welcome them to Canterbury and present them with material about traffic, road laws and alcohol by-laws here," he says. "The operation will take place Thursday through to Friday."

Inspector Erasmus says the aim is not to intimidate but welcome visitors and the drink drive stop was the easiest way to give out information.

"It will be a warm welcome with ACC also giving out information," he says. "The Christchurch game is expected to be the start of the personal tour for many Lions' supporters so they will be new to NZ driving conditions and laws."

The majority of followers are expected to arrive on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 June through Christchurch Airport. Four to five thousand new visitors are expected each day.

Campervans, car rentals and bus tours will be greeted by police staff with information about:
o NZ Police take road policing seriously
o information about driving conditions here
o information about keeping yourself safe.

"This will be the first point of contact with `real New Zealand' for most of the visitors so we want to make the most of it. We want the supporters to know we care about the law, hope they have a good time safely, and NZ Police support the All Blacks! We don't want them to be too unhappy when they lose!"

Christchurch City
Staffing for the Christchurch test is all from within the Canterbury district, with staff rostered to cover venues and areas where people are expected to party, says Inspector Craig McKay. Staff have been brought from Timaru to boost numbers.

"We are using all staff, including those who may not regularly be on `patrol', such as Education officers. However we are all police officers and regularly work on similar events such as the NPC finals and Summer Times when there are a lot of extra people in town. This will be different in that so many will be overseas visitors."

The only `extra' is a booze bus from Nelson in town, bringing the local group to three.

There will be check points and drink drive operations in town throughout the week.
"We will have a high profile police presence out there," says acting Inspector Cooper, Area Controller, Central. "We'll be on foot or mobile in cars and can get staff to any area quickly if backup is needed."

Leaving your vehicle
Locals and visitors are advised to leave their vehicle in as safe a place as possible, in a well lit area, says acting Inspector Peter Cooper.

"Some people look on this as an opportunity to get some new gear - yours, or try out your car. Please lock up all vehicles securely, remove anything of value before you get to your park, but preferably leave it at home or in a hotel safe," he says. "This applies all week before the test as there will be many more people and cars in town."

Community Patrols will be assisting police by having extra groups on during the week and weekend, and police patrols and plain clothes officers will be working around Jade Stadium on Saturday night.

Camper vans should park in designated areas with security patrols where possible.

General traffic
Traffic will probably be busier, with camper vans (hired) and drivers unsure of where they are travelling to and from!

"Patience and tolerance are the key words," says Inspector Erasmus. "If you have to travel through the city, plan your route and allow extra time."

There are special car parks set up for visitors within the city on Tuam and Lichfield Streets.

There will be check points and drink drive operations in town throughout the week.

Wednesday- Ranfurly Shield
The Ranfurly Shield game between is on Wednesday afternoon bringing extra traffic into Christchurch, though should not involve many Barmy Army supporters.

Saturday Test Lions v All Blacks
"Get there early. Previous experience has shown that people do not leave enough time to find a park and get to the game," says Inspector McKay.

"Plan how you are getting to the game and back to your car/ into town/ home. Plan to get a bus or taxi however remember that others may have the same idea as you, so don't rely on your `usual' and you can probably expect a wait for a taxi. Allow plenty of time to get to Jade Stadium so you don't miss the start of the match."

Inner city road closures
All have been advertised by the Christchurch City Council. Of difference to the usual are more roads closed around Jade Stadium, up to Moorehouse Ave.

Oxford Tce will be closed between Hereford and Lichfield Streets while the Square is also closed on Saturday. If travelling through town expect delays and plan your journey to avoid busy streets and routes.

Liquor ban
The Liquor ban will be strictly enforced.

Those out of towners staying at motels for the weekend are advised to take extra precautions when going to town on Saturday night for the game.

Snr Constable Dave Brunton, Sydenham, says that guests should ensure that all doors and windows are securely locked when they are not there and any valuables are entrusted to the motel's safe.

"Be careful when you are there too," he says. "Don't leave the door open for latecomers or any accessible windows open at night. Remember to also lock the doors when you are sleeping."

Dave Brunton says that moteliers should take extra care with security with so many people in town.

"There will be the usual criminals who see this as an opportunity. There is no point in taking care after the event."

In general
Christchurch Police want the Lions' supporters and the Lions team to have a great and safe time, says Inspector Craig McKay, Operations Manager, Canterbury.

"I want everyone to go away with a good impression of Christchurch and Canterbury. We want them to remember the city and come back with their families for a holiday next year."

Key Police staff
Inspector Craig McKAY - Operations Manager - overall command
Acting Inspector Pete COOPER, Area Controller, Christchurch Central
Inspector Derek ERASMUS, Traffic Manager, Canterbury District.