Why does Council need to control alcohol in public places?
Allowing people to drink or have alcohol in public places, such as beaches, parks, town centres or residential streets, can lead to crime and disorderly behaviour including:
- Damage to property
- Aggressive, intimidating or offensive behaviour towards others
- Disorderly behaviour such as fighting
- Nuisance issues, such as noise
The Police have limited powers under other legislation to prevent this behaviour. Enforcing the bylaw can reduce the risks associated with alcohol consumption resulting in undesirable behaviours. This enhances community safety and well-being.
Who enforces the Bylaw?
The NZ Police are the only agency that has the power to enforce this Bylaw, Council’s warranted enforcement officers cannot take any action for breaches of alcohol control areas.
What powers does the bylaw give the Police?
Police can search people and vehicles for alcohol and ask people to leave a public place where there are permanent or temporary alcohol controls if they consider there is a risk of criminal or disorderly behaviour.
Does the bylaw mean I can’t enjoy a glass of wine with a picnic at my favourite park?
The bylaw gives the Police a tool to prevent criminal and disorderly behaviour. Police constables have complete discretionary powers when it comes to enforcing the bylaw and are not obliged to take enforcement actions. Police judge each situation on its merits, and exercise discretion and common sense in how they exercise their powers under the bylaw. This could include warning the offender, removing or disposing of their alcohol, serving them with an infringement offence notice or arresting them and making them appear in court. While people should comply with the bylaw, every case is different.
What about if I want to get married on the beach and want a champagne toast?
Council can provide exemptions under certain circumstances. Applications for consents for this must be made to Council and may or may not be granted.
What if I drive through an alcohol control area and have wine or beer in my car with groceries I have just bought at the supermarket?
The Local Government Act 2002 already provides for the lawful transportation of alcohol brought from licensed premises.