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Police Urge Rugby Sevens Fans To Keep 'On-Side'

Police urge NZI Rugby Sevens fans to keep 'on-side'

2:39pm 4 February 2009

People who use the NZI Sevens festivities in Wellington as an excuse to get drunk and disrupt the enjoyment of others will find themselves 'off side' with the law.

"Alcohol fuelled disorder and stupid behaviour will not be tolerated at Westpac Stadium or elsewhere in the city," says Inspector Simon Perry, Wellington Police Operations Commander for the 6 and 7 February event.

"We want everyone to get on side and enjoy themselves while respecting the rights of people around them to have a great safe time too," he says.

Wellington Police are expecting a lively time over the long weekend as the rugby, the annual One Love Concert at Hataitai, and Waitangi Day events will bring thousands of people, local and out of town visitors, into the central city.

More than 120 police will be policing these events with some Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Palmerston North staff drafted in to help officers from across the Wellington District. This is in addition to Wellington Area staff who will continue to provide the day to day policing calls for service.

There will be a strong policing presence at the stadium and in the city afterwards, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when thousands of people will flock to the entertainment venues.

"The police message is simple. Don't drink too much alcohol. Intoxicated people get into trouble by provoking fights, or they become vulnerable as crime victims," Inspector Perry says.

It's especially important for young women to stick together and not get separated from friends. If you are going to drink, stick with your group and make sure someone is looking after you.

"Plan your night out and how you're going to get home. If you're walking, stay with your group, or get a taxi, late night bus or train with friends."

Police are reminding people that there's a 24 hour public liquor ban in the city which means you can't drink alcohol on the streets apart from designated licensed areas.

If you're going to the stadium for the rugby:
• security officers will search bags to ensure alcohol isn't carried into the stadium
• you face a two-year trespass order if you're caught smuggling alcohol into the stadium, or if you're evicted by police or security officers for causing trouble
• you will be arrested if you cause fights or other unruly behaviour - both at the stadium and elsewhere in the city.
• fancy dress is encouraged at the stadium - but there is an expected dress code. Please leave your imitation swords or firearms at home as they could be mistaken for a real weapon.
• Courtenay Place will be closed to traffic on Saturday night between Taranaki Street and Cambridge Terrace to create a pedestrian only zone. Detours will be signposted.
• large screens will be placed at several venues including Queen's Wharf, Waitangi Park and Courtenay Place for people who haven't got tickets for the Sevens to watch what's happening and be part of the atmosphere.

Inspector Perry urges Sevens fans to:

• moderate the amount of alcohol you drink
• don't turn up intoxicated at the stadium gates because you won't get in
• keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water
• make sure you eat some food
• take advantage of the chill-out zones around the stadium concourse
• avoid carrying large sums of cash - you don't want to lose your group's 'social fund'
• keep an eye out on your friends and if they're getting the worse for wear, take them home or back to their accommodation.

"Don't spoil the fun for yourself or others or waste your two day ticket by getting evicted or arrested in the first few hours of kick off. Why spend the night at our place when you could be enjoying it in the city."

Last year police arrested 25 people at the stadium for mainly alcohol and disorder related events and a further 76 people were evicted.


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