Boozy trouble spots revealed

SHARE

Mountain Scene can reveal where Queenstown’s drunken louts say they sank their last grog.

Cop stats released newspaper under the Official Information Act show where boozers who came into contact with officers claim they had their last drink.

The data cover the three years from 2013-15.

They show 737 drinkers identified resort bars where they drank before cops picked them up.

Police stats boffins say it can’t be entirely relied on, though – after all, it’s the word of people who’ve had a few.

Winnies on The Mall tops the list with 119 drinkers from 2013-15 – including 50 last year alone, twice as many as the next bar.

The Buffalo Club, the now-closed Brecon Street bar, is second with 65 over the three years.

Searle Lane and Social, on Searle Lane, is the third bar on the list, with 42.

Pool, general manager of Winnies owners Republic, gives a staunch defence of the bar.

She says it’s a matter of volume, with thousands of people through the door in the busy months, and brand recognition.

“People remember they’ve been to Winnies and we’re one of the biggest venues in town,” she says.

“We’re also putting more people on the streets because of the intoxication tests and turning more than ever before away at the door.”

Pool says police visited the venue on 21 nights in July. They assess whether patrons are intoxicated, as do bar staff.

It’s against the law to allow intoxicated people in a bar.

“We get so much scrutiny, it’s ridiculous.

“We didn’t have any intox. We’ve never had any found intoxicated, never been prosecuted for it.”

Republic – owned by bar baron Mike Burgess – also owned The Buffalo Club before selling the premises last year. It now has a stable of seven bars in town.

Pool says they meet police every couple of months to ask what they can do better.

“We’re very proactive – but still on their stats due to the high volume.”

The owners of Searle Lane and Social did not respond by deadline.

Dr Gavin Knight, chief data scientist at New Zealand Police’s National Perform-ance & Insight Centre in Wellington, supplied the data to

He says it “depends on the person’s recollection of where they consumed their last drink”.

It also covers everyone held in custody for any reason, whether charged or not, and people involved in family violence investigations, including victims.

The data might also identify a person as an alleged offender, but it doesn’t necessarily follow the person was caught and charged.

Little Blackwood, when trading as Boiler Room, Cowboys, Skybar and Zephyr are the next bars on the list respectively.

Local senior sergeant John Fookes – who was presumably involved in a search operation yesterday – couldn’t be reached for comment.

The statistics also show drinking at home or a private house is a problem, with 334 of those asked saying that was the last place they drank.

A further 191 claimed to have been drinking in a public place, 347 didn’t know the name of the bar where they’d been drinking, and 360 didn’t know or wouldn’t say where they’d been drinking.

Queenstown council’s regulatory boss Lee Webster says: “If when we’re monitoring premises we’re finding problems, that’s when we’d look at maybe more frequent inspections.”

Webster says they do indirectly use police intelligence to determine which bars need closer attention.

A local alcohol policy, which would look at hours of operation and other issues, has gone back to the drawing board.

Earlier this year, the Burgess-headed Queenstown Alcohol Accord asked the council for $25,000 to pay for a ‘CBD security night patrol’.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz