Cops schtum over last drinks


One bar’s been the final watering hole for a quarter of late night boozed-up offenders dealt with by resort cops, Mountain Scene can reveal.

But police won’t say which one it is.

The decision’s come under fire from an addiction expert, who says the information’s in the public interest.

Stats released under the Official Information Act show 725 offenders over the past three years told cops where they had their last drink.

Sixty-seven premises were listed, with just one of those accounting for a staggering 184 offenders.

That was miles ahead of the rest of the top five most common last-drink bars, which accounted for between 42 and 68 offenders.

Scene asked for the names of the top five booze spots, but police refused to say.

“In many of the cases this information was provided by persons under the influence of alcohol and the accuracy of the data cannot be verified,” police spokesman Chris Kelley says in his response.

In an email, he says releasing the information would “unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the person (licensee)”.

Scene has complained to the Ombudsman about the decision, which marks a significant policy switcheroo.

Back in 2016, Scene requested the same information from cops for the 2013-15 period.

It was released, with Winnies on the Mall topping the list with 119 drinkers.

At the time, general manager Tracy Pool gave a staunch defence of the bar, highlighting the large number of people it serves and the brand’s recognition.

“We’re also putting more people on the streets because of the intoxication tests and turning more than ever before away at the door”, she said, adding police hadn’t assessed anyone on site as being intoxicated.

University of Otago Professor Doug Sellman, who’s served as director of the National Addiction Centre since 1996, says naming the top five last-drinks spots is in the public interest.

“It is against the law to serve people who are already intoxicated, but the definition of intoxication is not determined by breathalyser but by observation, which can be quite misleading,” he says.

“I can’t understand the police defending businesses that are risking breaking the law by serving people alcohol who are likely to be already well over the 0.05 grams [50mg per 100mls of blood] limit for driving, which is a standard medical definition of intoxication.”