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Central City licensees endorse continuing the Alcohol Accord

12 July 2007

Christchurch’s Central City licensees have made an on-going commitment to operate a one-way door at 4am and look at new initiatives to build on its success to further reduce alcohol-related inner city crime and violence.

Yesterday’s Central Business District Alcohol Accord Management Committee endorsed the continuation of the Alcohol Accord under which the one-way door at 4am was the first initiative.

The meeting also made a commitment to introduce a number of new initiatives under the Accord such as further work to alleviate the issues associated with party buses dropping off intoxicated passengers in the central city at night; improving pedestrian access along Oxford Terrace; identifying initiatives to work with suburban bars and sports clubs to alleviate the issues associated with intoxicated patrons arriving in the central city late at night; advocating for further changes to the Sale of Liquor Act to provide sensible restrictions on liquor promotions without breaching the Commerce Act; and launch educational programmes relating to the liquor ban and personal safety.

Committee chairman Peter Morrison said the industry was pleased with the success of the Alcohol Accord since it was launched in October last year.

“It has helped reduce central city crime and violence and has had no negative impact on licensee turnover.”

More than 50 bars in the central business district formed the Alcohol Accord in partnership with the Christchurch City Council, New Zealand Police, Community and Public Health, a division of the Canterbury District Health Board, and Hospitality Association (HANZ).

The Accord was subject to a six-month trial period which ended in March and was independently evaluated by the Alcohol Liquor Advisory Council (ALAC) and ACC. This report is still in draft and yet to be released by ALAC.

Since the trial ended, bar owners had continued to operate a one-way door at 4am which Mr Morrison said highlighted the industry’s commitment to the Accord.

“The Alcohol Accord has not only built strong partnerships and better co-operation between licensees and agencies it has also improved street lighting, resulted in better rubbish collection, improved taxi access and helped identify unsafe areas in the city.

“This is a great outcome but there is still a lot of work to be done to create a safe, enjoyable and prosperous night-time economy in Christchurch.”

Christchurch Central Area Police Commander Inspector Gary Knowles said there was a significant increase in breaches of the liquor ban during the six-month Alcohol Accord trial which contributed to the lion’s share to the 23 per cent increase in total offences during the time.

“Much of this increase was expected and is directly attributed to the increased police presence in the inner city and more effective community partnerships.

“Importantly, the number of serious offences – grievous assaults, sexual attacks and robberies – fell during the six-month trial period from October 2006 to March 2007, by as much as 21% compared with the same period in 2005/06.  And since the trial period ended three months ago, the number of serious offences has continued to decline.”

He said by targeting lower-level offences such as minor assault and disorderly conduct, there had been less serious violence being reported in the central city.

“It is important to remember, police statistics are just one measure of the success of the one-way door initiative under the Alcohol Accord. Just as important are the partnerships that have formed between licensees and agencies and the joint responsibility by everyone to improve central city crime and violence.”

Inspector Knowles said the police had made an on-going commitment to continue with the level of central city policing that has operated during the last six months, working to further reduce central city violence.

“The Alcohol Accord is a key initiative to help achieve this goal.”

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore said the success of the Alcohol Accord was fantastic news for the city.

“I congratulate everyone involved for helping to create a central city which is safe for residents, visitors and tourists to enjoy the warm hospitality for which this city is renowned.

“The early indication is that the public perception of safety in Christchurch’s central city is improving and, in part, this can be attributed to the success of the Alcohol Accord and the one-way door at 4am.

“I applaud the industry’s initiative to explore new ways under the Accord to reduce inner city crime and violence. The Council is working to make Christchurch the Safest City in New Zealand and this all helps achieve our goal.”


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