After escalating issues with gangs, violence and drug dealing, Octagon bar owners are saying enough is enough.
A new group, Octagon Alcohol Prevention, has been formed to tackle serious bad behaviour in Dunedin's city centre, and troublemakers could find themselves banned from every bar in the area as a result.
Alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian Paulin said a gang presence in the Octagon has been causing "a bit of grief".
There have been assaults, suspected drug dealing, women being threatened — "really anti-social behaviour on the serious end of the scale".
"It's just been brought to a head that the only way is to get rid of those people from all our bars," he said.
Rather than working with bars individually, police set up a forum to get all the central city bars together. They met for the first time in November, and would be meeting every three months.
One key development had been the creation of a blanket trespass notice.
If someone was trespassed from one of the bars for a serious offence, they would be banned from all 14 signatories.
Communication between bars about dodgy patrons would be increasing as well.
"We tend to think of the police being the method of solving all the problem, whereas actually the managers and those working at those hours can see things in a different light and add more value to those conversations," Sgt Paulin said.
He acknowledged that banning unruly patrons from bars did not mean they could not still be in the centre city late at night.
But if they were caught drinking in a liquor ban area, police had enforcement methods to deal with them.
The Craic Irish Tavern and Thistle owner Claire Grenfell said all bar owners had noticed drugs in bars becoming more prevalent.
"That's obviously detrimental to business. We want people here to enjoy themselves," she said.
She did not want to preempt any further possible measures, but said a lot of things were tabled for the next meeting later this month.
"There certainly are some good things being looked at."
Andre Shi, who owns Catacombs and Vault 21, said the aim of the group was to make the Octagon a safer place.
He believed the trespass notice initiative would prevent serious misbehaviour, as people would be scared of getting banned from all Octagon premises.