Troublemakers at bars and licensed restaurants in and around Cromwell risk being banned for up to two years from nearly all licensed premises in the area.
Under a new joint initiative by police and licensees, patrons displaying aggressive or violent behaviour will face a blanket ban and might be trespassed from nearly all hotels and licensed restaurants in the district.
"This should send a clear signal that enough is enough; it's not okay or acceptable to come in, cause trouble, to use alcohol as an excuse to get into scraps or abuse other patrons or staff - there will be repercussions if you do," Golden Gate Lodge general manager, Glen Christiansen, said yesterday. The head of Cromwell police, Sergeant Simon Paget, announced the initiative and said the collaboration was "all the more powerful" because it involved nearly all the licensed premises in and around the town.
"If you get trespassed from one, you won't be able to just go off to another one."
"From a police perspective, it fits our Prevention First strategy, and from the publicans' perspective, they'll ensure their premises keeps its good name and patrons will be able to enjoy themselves and socialise in relaxed surroundings.
Obviously, alcohol plays a role in anti-social behaviour but the hosts are doing their part towards host responsibility, and being proactive and I commend them for that," Sgt Paget said.
Liquor licensing officer Constable Paddy Henderson was instrumental in developing the initiative, along with licensees.
"Licensees are as keen as we are to see that Cromwell remains an awesome place to visit, not somewhere you can't have a drink in peace because of drunken, aggressive behaviour."
Mr Christiansen said the initiative expanded on a collaboration between three of the area's hotels, started about a year ago. Under that scheme, patrons trespassed from one hotel could be "blued" from all three.
"We want to have a fun, safe environment for patrons to have a few drinks. Our message is, you wouldn't go to New World in broad daylight and carry out that sort of behaviour, so why do it in hotels and restaurants?"
"Ninety-five per cent of the crowd are great but it's the 5 per cent who spoil it for the rest, so we'll be enforcing this strongly," he said.
About eight or 10 licensees are involved in the initiative.
A 51-year-old Cromwell man, recently convicted for an assault at a hotel in the area, is the first person to receive the blanket ban, Sgt Paget said.
"Hopefully, he'll be the last, as we really want people to be able to come out and enjoy themselves, just know when enough's enough."