Queenstown cops to combat kickings

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Queenstown cops are taking a tougher stance on local streets to prevent booze-fuelled violence. 

Police plan to ramp up their presence and visibility – and warn they’ll lay serious charges on offenders – after three separate violent assaults last weekend. 

In all three incidents, last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, male victims were allegedly kicked while they lay on the ground. 

Sergeant Steve Watt says recorded incidents of violence in public places have dropped in the past three years but in light of recent events police will become more hands-on. 

“It’s not a set operation at this stage but the number of offences over the past couple of weeks has highlighted to us that we need to be proactive and get out there and perform those high-visibility checks,” Watt says. 

However, police numbers won’t increase per shift. 

“We’ll be operating high-visibility checks around the CBD and we’re also encouraging people to look after their mates …promoting aspects to ensure people take a bit of responsibility themselves so they’re safe in town,” Watt adds. 

“Alcohol’s always a factor so we’re conducting checks around the licensed premises to make sure they’re abiding by the Sale of Liquor Act and holding up to their obligations. 

“That will certainly help us along to make sure that Queenstown remains a safe place to go out and enjoy a drink.” 

Tough charges have been laid against those allegedly involved in assaults last weekend. 

A 26-year-old Queenstown man has been charged with assault with intent to injure and his 29-year-old Waikato mate charged with assault after CCTV cameras caught them kicking a 40-year-old Australian man in the head while he was on the ground. 

A 19-year-old Queenstown man has been charged with injuring with intent after allegedly punching an 18-year-old man four times, then kicking him in the head while on the ground last Saturday. 

Two Brazilian brothers, aged 20 and 18, were arrested in relation to an assault on the corner of Rees Street and Ballarat Street after being refused entry to a bar and allegedly punching and kicking another man while he was on the ground early last Sunday morning. 

“It’s an extreme act of violence which can lead to far-reaching repercussions further down the track should that person die as a result of a kick to the head,” Watt says. 

“There is a nasty element between the three instances but it doesn’t point towards an increase in the nature of violence in the town,” he adds. 

“They’re three isolated incidents which occurred within a short space of time. 

“Hopefully, we won’t see it in the future and with us increasing our efforts around town to make us more visible and increasing public awareness, those instances shouldn’t carry on in the future,” he 
says.