Bar owners in Wellington’s party zone are now so “terrified” of police behaviour that they are loath to call an ambulance for drunk patrons for fear of attracting unwanted attention, a nightlife kingpin says.
Nick Mills, whose family has owned a string of Wellington bars for decades, told a District Licensing Committee hearing on Thursday: “We’re now terrified of police. They’re now the opposition, not the ally.”
Mills, who was seeking the renewal of an alcohol licence for his Siglo bar in Courtenay Place, accused police of unfairly targeting bars in an effort to force a change to the city’s licensing laws.
Police want to impose a one-way door policy on bars in the area after 3am, preventing any new customers from entering. They applied for such a “lockout” at Siglo on Thursday.
However, Wellington City Council’s local alcohol policy ruled out such a change in 2013.
Mills told the hearing that police were now trying to get around the council’s policy by lodging objections to every bar’s 4am licence renewal.
I’ve blogged on this before. The Police are going from trying to enforce the law to write the law. The actual elected lawmakers decided not to have a one way policy requirement as they were not convinced it would be beneficial. But the Police have decided they know better than elected representatives and are trying to get a de facto policy implemented by objecting to every application that doesn’t include a one way policy.
This is outrageous and should be stopped. I would change the law so that the only issue the Police can submit on to licensing authorities is how well they have complied with the law.