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Rotorua Raggamuffin crowd generally well behaved

Rotorua Raggamuffin crowd generally well behaved

Police in Rotorua are happy with the overall behaviour of the 14,000 strong crowd who attended the annual Raggamuffin Festival.

Friday featured the Raggamuffin pre-party and was a reasonably uneventful night for Police with a total of five arrests in and around the Rotorua Stadium (2 breach of liquor ban, 1 breach of bail, one breach of the peace and one for disorderly behaviour.)

A friendly and relaxed atmosphere filled the stadium throughout Saturday.  Police were pleased to see that a large number of people had taken the advice to ensure they kept hydrated by drinking water both during and after the event. In the main that positive mood continued as the crowd left the venue and dispersed across the city.

Nevertheless, from late afternoon security staff, ambulance officers and police staff increasingly had to deal with people who had drunk too much alcohol and in some cases required medical assistance. A total of 10 arrests were made in and around the stadium on Saturday. They were primarily alcohol related; people breaching liquor bans, becoming disorderly or simply needing to be taken into custody for their own well-being due to extreme intoxication.

Some calls were received from concerned residents and police staff did find evidence in the streets that breaches had taken place.

Rotorua Area Commander Bruce Horne said: “It is a concern that some people seem to use these events as a chance to push the boundaries and we will continue to give thought to how we can better achieve compliance. We know from experience that liquor bans are an excellent tool to reduce incidents of other offending such as violent behaviour and disorder. In the six months following the introduction of a ban in Rotorua CBD we saw violent crime fall by 50 per cent.

“But the reality is that we are still dealing with a wider culture of binge drinking and as much as we would like cultural change to occur overnight we know it takes time. We only have to look back at our history around drink-driving to know see that it took time for a shift from acceptable to taboo.

"What we don’t want is the bad behaviour of a minority to take away from the good behaviour of the majority. Police and community partners, including Rotorua District Council have worked hard over they years in order to ensure the event runs safely.  Crowd behaviour has progressively improved over the years and most of the people are responding positively to safety messages."

Compliance in terms of drink-driving was good with only a small number of people processed by the Traffic Alcohol Group, not dissimilar to a typical weekend.


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