Wellington Police say NZI Sevens ticket holders may find themselves in the sin bin if their behaviour is drunken or disruptive to others. With an influx of people expected to travel into Wellington, the Police message to the public is to monitor alcohol consumption, eat properly and remain considerate of others.
Inspector Simon Perry, the Police Operations Commander for the NZI Sevens, says the message encourages people to enjoy themselves without spoiling the atmosphere for others.
"We want people to have fun at these events, but alcohol-fuelled disorder and poor behaviour will be dealt with swiftly.
"The influence of alcohol is a major focus for Police especially at large-scale events. By no means are we trying to ruin anyone's enjoyment, but the simple fact is that intoxication can lead to violence and victimisation. Remember to
have food and water regularly if you are drinking."
Inspector Perry says Police, Wellington City Council and Westpac Stadium Trust always take a co-ordinated approach to managing the popular event. Stadium staff and Police will watch for intoxicated fans and suggests people don't drink too much before heading to the games. Conduct inside the grounds will be a focus for stadium management, who say they will not accept disruptive behaviour.
NZI Sevens General Manager Steve Walters says, "The tournament generally runs very smoothly but we'll be watching out for that small number of disruptive people. Anyone who invades the pitch can expect a long-term eviction from Westpac Stadium."
Stadium staff will also search bags for alcohol at various times of the day and Police say costumes will be scrutinised.
"We're not the fashion police and realise that outfits are a big part of the fun, but anything that looks like a weapon or is dangerous could be mistaken for the real thing and should be left at home," says Inspector Perry.
Mr Walters has some advice of his own, saying, "Yellow high-visibility vests should be avoided, as fans could be mistaken for safety staff. If you want to be seen in fluoro colours, choose anything but yellow!"
Approximately 35,000 locals and visitors are expected to attend the rugby tournament at Westpac Stadium, with additional numbers attending annual Waitangi Day events across the city. Inspector Perry says that staffing has been adjusted to accommodate the higher population.
"Extra Police from Wellington District will work additional to those normally rostered for emergency response. We also have a number of staff traveling from out of district to work in Wellington this weekend. The resources are here to handle the crowds, especially at the festivities in the CBD after each night's play."
Inspector Perry says with so many people expected to gather in the CBD it is important for people to look after their drinks and property and avoid getting separated from friends. Make sure plans are made in advance on how to get home safely and where to meet if groups are separated.
Inspector Perry says 26 arrests were made at the Stadium last year and 133 people were evicted. He says he hopes figures this year will remain low. "If everyone drinks responsibly and is thoughtful towards others, everyone will have a good time to remember."