Call for more police at New Year

More police are required to control crowds in Wanaka and Hawea during the New Year period.

That was the belief of the Wanaka Community Board, which had been in discussions with the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Lake Wanaka Tourism in recent months about how to solve issues such as underage drinking and the breaching of liquor bans in both Wanaka and Hawea.

Between the period of December 28, 2017, and January 2, 2018 about 35 teens aged between 14 and 17 were caught drinking in Wanaka, many of whom chose to write an essay on the effects of binge drinking rather than incurring an instant $250 fine.

In a draft letter to Southern Police, board chairman Quentin Smith said the "significant increase" in the number of young people in town at New Year was "of particular concern".

"The board respectfully request consideration of an increase in police resources over the period particularly for visible downtown beat police as part of an integrated and co-operative approach to ensuring safety of our young people," he wrote.

At yesterday's board meeting, points were raised by board member Rachel Brown about also getting more policing at Hawea over the same period.

She said that following a debriefing on the New Year period at Hawea, it was found that "a lot of the problems were stemming from the lack of enforcement of the liquor ban there through lack of policing".

"There's no point having liquor bans if they're not enforced."

Both Otago Lakes-Central area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen and Wanaka Senior Sergeant Allan Grindell said they were unable to comment on the proposal until they had received the letter from the board.

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