Queenstown police work to reduce late-night drinking

By Olivia Caldwell of the Otago Daily Times

Photo / File
Photo / File

Queenstown police plan to work with local food and drink outlets to reduce the number of late-night drinking incidents in the resort.

Since the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Queenstown police installed the closed circuit television system (CCTV) in May, police have been able to identify more offenders and victims.

Sergeant Derek Ealson said yesterday the system has been of great benefit in its first six months.

"Queenstown is a great place to visit. We want people to have a great time but within the bounds of the law without impacting on others," he said.

"The key message is to drink sensibly and look after your mates. If you drink to excess you are more likely to become victims or offenders and this has simply been proven by these incidents."

Sgt Ealson was referring to one recent incident at the Queenstown McDonald's that resulted in the restaurant's duty manager being sentenced last week to seven months' home detention.

Rishi Kumar (34) was convicted of injuring with intent to cause injury after he grabbed a customer, swung him around, punched him to the ground and stood on his torso and kicked the man in the head.

Kumar has since said he was under pressure that evening and his victim was intoxicated, yelling racial abuse and spat on him.

Last week, Kumar claimed his requests to his employer, Mark Julian, for more security were not acted upon. He had been removed from his managerial position after the August 30 incident.

Sgt Ealson said Queenstown police were working with McDonald's management and other outlets notorious for police callouts for drunken behaviour.

"Unfortunately, McDonald's has been in the press recently and we are working with establishments on security issues."

Sgt Ealson said the installation of the CCTV system had assisted police in identifying people and establish what had occurred.

- Otago Daily Times

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