Only four students among 15 arrested

Dunedin police and Campus Watch staff attend a couch fire incident on Forth St on Saturday night....
Dunedin police and Campus Watch staff attend a couch fire incident on Forth St on Saturday night. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

A large number of young people "partying up" in Dunedin on Saturday night, their ranks swelled by Forsyth Barr Stadium Orientation concert-goers, resulted in 15 arrests for assault or disorder offences.

However, despite the concert crowds, and Dunedin firefighters extinguishing 12 fires in North Dunedin in nine and a-half hours, police confirmed only four of those arrested were students.

Acting Inspector Allan Grindell, of Dunedin, said the night was chaotic.

Excessive consumption of alcohol created an unsafe environment, leading to hospitalisations and disruption to the community, he said.

Eleven of the 15 arrested were aged between 18 and 22.

Two males, not students in Dunedin, were arrested for disorderly behaviour connected with the fires in North Dunedin.

The remainder, dealt with for offences mainly in the central city, ranged from labourers, builders, shearers, contractors and unemployed people to a 43-year-old teacher.

Snr Sgt Grindell said Dunedin police had no problems with the crowd which headed towards the central city following the stadium concert.

However, Octagon bars attracted so many patrons the lower Octagon roadway became blocked at one stage, forcing police to close the road for a short time to ensure the safety of those waiting to get into bars.

Snr Sgt Grindell said police were called to several fights in the main street, mainly involving intoxicated males.

Many of those involved were visitors to the city.

"While police have a role to play inasmuch as possible keeping people safe and enforcing the law, [Saturday] night's events again demonstrated that when young people drink excessively, they are more likely to become victims of crime or offenders, or harm themselves."

Willowbank Fire Station Officer Peter Douglas described the behaviour of partygoers in North Dunedin on Saturday night as "dangerous and disrespectful".

"It seems people are now quite happy to throw objects at firefighters trying to put out fires in the student area.

Mr Douglas said some of those throwing objects at firefighters were not students.

"Members of the public seem to side with students and create a bit of mischief."



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