Should the police be able to shut down parties preemptively?
A Christchurch father is calling for police to change the way they deal with unruly parties after an event his daughter was not meant to have turned into chaos.
More than 80 people were thrown out of the man's Worcester St property by police in full riot gear on February 1, but the man said police were warned about the party earlier in the day and should have done more to stop it before it became out-of-control.
The man, who did not want to be named in case his neighbours were targeted, said he was in the North Island on business and visiting family when he found out his 17-year-old daughter was throwing a party without his permission.
He called police after unsuccessfully telling her she was not allowed to have the party, and asked officers to make sure it did not go ahead.
Police did not take any action until the party got out of hand, with revellers causing about $1000 of damage to his and several neighbours' properties.
"I did everything in my power to make sure it didn't happen. I gave full permission to do whatever they they needed to do. This could have all been avoided."
The man said he thought police would have "jumped at the opportunity to stop something before it started", given recent attention on out-of-control parties in Christchurch, and wondered if police needed more powers to be able to intervene earlier.
"It's almost like there's too much protection that enables [partygoers] to do these sort of things. They just get a slap on the wrist."
Christchurch Police Alcohol Prevention leader Senior Sergeant Gordon Spite said it was not illegal to throw a party and police were constrained by legislation in how they responded.
"We can't just go marching into places just because we don't like what they're doing."
Police could use the Trespass Act to remove people from a property at the occupier's request but Spite was not sure why that resource was not used in this case.
He said police did use the Search and Surveillance Act later in the night, which allowed them to disperse the crowd when things got out of hand and five people were arrested for disorderly behaviour after bottles were thrown at officers.
Spite said he did not think there was a "spike" in out-of-control parties in Christchurch, but social media had become an aggravating feature in most incidents police were being called to. "Generally speaking, the problems are with uninvited guests."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Why are fewer teens learning to drive?Related story: Teen non-drivers lazy 'narcissists'