Northland's top cop says staff are preparing for the onslaught of the Christmas party season, on the back of two readers coming to the Northern Advocate with claims of a serious assault by "girl gangsters".
Whangarei/Kaipara Area Commander Inspector Tracy Philips said the summer months and the lead-up to Christmas were the busiest times for staff, with alcohol-related crimes such as assaults, and theft and burglary at maximum levels.
The Advocate was contacted by email and on Facebook with descriptions of what appears to be the same assault, where a man and a woman were set upon by a group of youths in Butter Factory Lane on Saturday night.
The descriptions say the woman who, according to one account was in her 20s, was kicked in the head and thrown against a wall.
The man, also in his 20s, was pushed by a group of boys and girls reported to be young teens.
Ms Philips said she couldn't comment on the assault as the couple did not make a formal complaint.
In general, close to half of all offenders that Whangarei police deal with were school aged.
She said the busiest time for police was between 3pm-7pm each day, when the youths were out of school.
"A lot of offences come in after school. Early Saturday morning and Sunday morning is when we got a lot of disorders, when people are leaving bars and clubs."
She said deciding which areas and types of crimes are priority was reviewed daily, weekly and monthly.
Jess White, owner of The Old Stone Butter Factory, said she wasn't aware of any assault on Saturday night, but youths had been hanging around and drinking at the Laurie Hall Carpark and making trouble for a while.
She said her priority was keeping her staff and patrons safe, and she had approached the youths herself on a number of occasions and told them to move on.
"It's like they are getting bolder and have less respect for authority, whether it's business owners or adults or the police," she said.
"A couple of women have told us they don't feel safe round here late at night, and come in the long way from Bank St."
Ms White has approached the council to install lights on the lane, and is hoping to reach an agreement with other building owners in the area to install security lights.
Meanwhile, to prevent alcohol-related crime, Ms Phillips said police were making their presence clear in clubs and bars.
"We get into the pubs and clubs earlier in the night and go door-to-door when people are leaving to make sure they have a safe ride home," she said.
"If early on in the night people see cops around it makes them think twice about having the last bottle of beer."