Bar’s attitude concerns police

File photo
Police have expressed frustration with the attitude of the operators of a popular Dunedin bar, suggesting there could be an arrogance problem.

AND Hospitality Group Ltd applied for a renewal of the on-licence for Octagon bar Vault 21.

Alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian Paulin told a hearing yesterday he was worried the process had been treated as a tick-box exercise, and that there was "an assumption the licence will be renewed".

"There almost seems to be an arrogance on behalf of the applicant," Sgt Paulin, of Dunedin, said.

Authorities did not object to renewal of the licence.

However, licensing inspector Tanya Morrison and Sgt Paulin raised concerns at a district licensing committee hearing that host responsibility discussions had not appeared to yield results.

Police have been investigating what they described as assaults that happened at or outside Vault 21 on two nights last month, which was after Sgt Paulin had submitted his written report for the committee.

Sgt Paulin said if he had known then what he knew now, police would have opposed the licence application.

An altercation happened at the bar on May 9 and police were not called.

Another confrontation happened outside the bar on May 22 and police attended when duty manager Max Gillies waved down a patrol car.

Bar owner Andre Shi said the bar’s policy was to call police if there was a serious assault, but he signalled this would be revisited to involve police more.

Discussion at the hearing about the alleged assaults cannot be reported.

Ms Morrison drew attention to the bar’s lack of progress in implementing the ServeWise host responsibility programme.

Mr Shi pledged to have staff complete it within four weeks.

Sgt Paulin referred to a disc jockey verbally abusing people at the end of a set in November and then a fight breaking out in the Octagon.

Mr Shi said a guest singer had unexpectedly used profanity to instruct patrons to leave at the end of a song.

The bar now had a strict policy on who had access to the microphone.

Mr Shi admitted the bar had been ‘‘quite slack on the paperwork’’.

The licensing committee’s options include granting a short-term licence renewal or allowing more time for the bar to get up to speed on its policies.

It adjourned the hearing.








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