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Crackdown on K Rd alcohol-fuelled crime

Published: 5:34AM Tuesday May 15, 2012 Source: Fairfax

Alcohol-fuelled crime along Auckland's iconic Karangahape Rd has been slashed by police who claim to have reduced serious assaults, liquor ban breaches and general disorder in the popular nightspot.

Drunken disorder led to police last year vouching to clamp down on crime in the area by boosting night time patrols, making security staff more visible and by working with other authorities and business owners.

Revellers are now less likely to be partying after sunrise, there is less day time crime and business owners say the footpaths are cleaner and new enterprises are opening.

Auckland City area commander Inspector Andrew Coster said police had reached a point where they could now focus on other areas.

"It has improved a lot. We're looking now at how we maintain what we've achieved there without focusing all our resources in there because there are clearly issues in other parts of town that we need to manage,'' he said.

"It's certainly encouraging to see that when you focus on an area you can change some of the patterns and get an improvement."

Coster said there was now fewer serious assaults to investigate come Monday morning.

Police and security staff wearing high-visibility clothing - a tactic overseas research showed reduced anti-social behaviour - had kept people on their best behaviour, he said.

"If you go up there and you see a lot of people in yellow, you think, 'I'd better behave myself' whereas if there's nothing like that then people tend to revert to whatever behaviour that their intoxication leads to.''

Security staff have used radios to ensure people kicked out of one bar did not enter others.

Police also worked with licensed premises, the Auckland Council and Auckland Regional Public Health to target bars that were repeatedly breaking liquor laws.

"Where a premises is not compliant in one area it's a good chance it's not complaint in others and that gets people pretty focussed on what their obligations are," Coster said.

The council looked at building compliance while health officials ensured premises were smoke-free.

Forced to make concessions to retain their licenses, some premises agreed to measures such as one-way doors from a certain time - preventing patrons from drinking in their cars before returning - as well as reducing trading hours "which seemed to significantly reduce the severe intoxication that we would see up there".

Coster said police want the initiatives mandated by local authorities.

Police also want to reduce car parks so that people can't use their cars to store liquor. The Karangahape Road Business Association is having cars parked in private spaces towed.

Business association manager Barbara Holloway said years of hard work was starting to pay off.

"It's awesome I think all of the pieces we've put in place are all coming together now."

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