A man with more than 20 years' experience in the security industry said firearms and knives are increasingly turning up at bars and clubs across Auckland, but he doesn't see a liquor licencing overhaul as the answer.
The man, who the Herald has agreed not to name, said some bars now use metal detectors to weed out weapons. He would like to see this rolled out across every bar because "then you know what is inside, is safe".
But rather than closing bars and clubs earlier and leaving partygoers to disperse across the city unpatrolled, he said bars with a late licence should be compacted to one area that can easily be policed.
"Why not stagger licence premise shutdowns?" he told the Herald.
"Pick a street where there's a late licence, so one street has a four o'clock licence ... it's easier to police because it's all in one place."
It might be the Viaduct, but not the rest of Auckland for example, he said.
"At least it's a controlled environment."
He said if bars close early, people will scatter to house parties where no bar staff, security or police are there to check on people.
"If a young girl passed out in a house, who is there to protect them?"
The man has managed security for bars all across Auckland for years, including one that never used to close.
He said a rise in gang activity has "definitely caused consequences" for Aucklanders going for a night out in the CBD.
Young members can "gain notoriety" by having guns, he said.
Most licenced premises would not allow a gang member in, but sometimes it's not obvious, he said.
"They used to threaten to punch you, now they threaten to kill or stab you."
He said young security guards, who are getting paid minimum wage, might not have the experience to deal with these incidents and it's getting harder to find people with the right skillset.
He quit the industry at the end of last year, saying he "got sick and tired of firearms and knives".
Firearms at bars
An investigation is under way after a shot was fired and suspected arson caused at a bar in Manukau, South Auckland last month.
Police suspect the matter may be gang-related but it "cannot be definitive".
"As well as the damage from the attempted arson, a firearm had been discharged at that premises' roller door. We think that happened at the same time," police told the Herald.
Another alleged firearms incident occurred at the same bar a few weeks later.
At the end of last year there were a spate of firearms-related incidents in Auckland's CBD.
In December, authorities were called to a premises on Sale St after reports of someone being in possession of a firearm.
A 25-year-old man was arrested after a shot was fired at the roof of Dr Rudi's Rooftop Brewing Co by a patron after a fight outside just a week earlier.
A fortnight before that a shooting was reported at Auckland strip club Calendar Girls.