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Christchurch’s central city bars to change one-way door to 3am

20 October 2008

Christchurch’s Central City Bars will change the one-way door to 3am from November 3.

Two years ago Christchurch launched New Zealand’s first Alcohol Accord aimed at reducing alcohol-related crime and violence in the central city.

The first initiative under the Accord was the introduction by central city bars of a one-way door at 4am – patrons leaving bars after 4am not being able to re-enter the bar or other bars in the central city. The measure was designed to stop the migration of alcohol-affected individuals and groups between bars and areas within the central city when they were at a greater risk of being a victim or perpetrator of crime of violence.

While the one-way at 4am has played a significant role in helping to keep inner city crime and violence in Christchurch at the lowest growth rate for a metropolitan city in New Zealand, Alcohol Accord Management Committee Chairman Peter Morrison says there is strong evidence a one-way at 3am will help to further reduce crime and violence.

"Statistics show that at 3am a one-way door can help to reduce total offences by 20 per cent, where at 4am the one-way door is only capturing 11 per cent of crime and violence."

Mr Morrison says in bringing the one-way door back to 3am, the industry is showing a high level of social responsibility in ensuring it is doing whatever is necessary to minimise the community risks associated with alcohol.

"While on-premise sales only account for 27 per cent of liquor consumption in New Zealand and there is a real problem with alcohol being made too readily available at cheap prices through supermarkets and other off-licences, the hospitality industry does have a role to play.

"I am proud of the industry’s decision to be proactive in helping to find solutions to help make our city a safer place and create a prosperous night-time economy."

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, who also Chairs the Safer Christchurch Interagency Group, says the industry is to be commended on changing the one-way door.

"As a Council we are totally committed to making Christchurch the safest place in New Zealand. Today we introduce Safe City Officers in the central city and next month 25 additional security cameras will be operating within this area.

"Both measures are designed to help curb alcohol-related crime and violence in our central city – which is a prime concern for this Council. We need to make our central city safer after dark to ensure there is a vibrant night-time economy for residents and tourists.

"Changing the one-way door to 3am will play a significant part in helping the city achieve its community’s wish for a safer city and I congratulate licensees on taking ownership and acknowledging they are both part of the problem and part the solution. It is these partnerships which will enable us to achieve our goal."

Canterbury District Police Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff says he applauds the industry for this new initiative.

"The city has made great progress through the Accord partnership in the last two years but has only just been keeping the lid on violence and crime.

"For the police, 3am is our witching hour, the time when inner city crime and violence tends to peak. I’m sure the extra hour will make a significant difference, helping to capture another almost 10 per cent of crime and violence, and I expect we will see much better results in the next 12 months.

Canterbury District Health Board’s General Manager of Community and Public Health Evon Currie says the Board is committed to protecting and improving the health and well-being of its community.

"What the Alcohol Accord shows is there is a shared responsibility for safety in our city and recognition that alcohol contributes significantly to central city crime and violence.

"I congratulate the industry on changing the one-way door. It will make a difference. It also shows as a city we are prepared to work together to find the right solutions which provide everyone with a better place to live, work and play."

The Alcohol Accord is a partnership between the Christchurch City Council, New Zealand Police, Community and Public Health – a division of the Canterbury District Health Board, Hospitality Association of New Zealand, 38 licensees and security companies.

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