Police relying on bars to enforce new liquor law changes

Police put bars on notice

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 11:22 20/12/2013
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Speech - Co-ordination - Appearance - Behaviour

S: Slurring, difficulty forming words, loud, repetitive, loses train of thought, nonsensical, unintelligible

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A: Glazed/bloodshot eyes, unable to focus, tired, asleep, dishevelled

B: Seriously inappropriate actions, language; aggressive, rude, belligerent, obnoxious behaviour affecting others

Source: NZ Police

Ahead of the first weekend under a major liquor law change, southern police are putting bar staff and licensees on notice.

Tradies Day - often the last day of work before Christmas when staff get to finish work early and have a few beers, the Kiln street party and a special licensed event at the Vinyl Bar today will fill the city bars and put pressure on staff to comply with the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

The new laws came into effect on Wednesday and, as under the old law, outlets cannot serve intoxicated people or allow them to stay on their premises.

But the law change has introduced a new definition of "intoxicated" to mean someone who is affected by alcohol, drugs or other substances and who is displaying two or more of the following conditions: affected appearance, impaired behaviour, impaired co- ordination or impaired speech.

Sergeant John Harris, the officer in charge of the Southland alcohol harm reduction unit, said it would be up to door staff and bar staff to deny intoxicated patrons entry or serve them.

There was a lot of pressure on staff working at licensed premises but police would be enforcing the rules, he said.

"With people starting to drink earlier in the day with Tradies Day and the Kiln street party, there could be a few intoxicated people looking to get into other venues later.

It is up to bar and door staff, who are on the front line, to recognise this. But it is up to managers, licensees and owners to ensure their staff are properly trained."

If police could also trace any criminal behaviour such as wilful damage or assault by an intoxicated person back to a licensed premises, the licensee or owner could face police action.

To help bar staff, police teamed up with Hospitality New Zealand, Health Promotion Agency and the New Zealand Institute of Licensing Inspectors to create a pocket-sized colour co-ordinated card that can be used to assess drunkenness.

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Patrons needed to understand that if they were refused entry by door staff, "no meant no".

Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey said the trust had met with all of its trading establishments during past weeks to discuss the changes.

He said he was confident licensees and staff understood the changes and their implications.

 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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