Police have issued a warning that pre-loading will not be tolerated in the wake of 11 arrests at the Spring Classic Premier Raceday last weekend, and those found causing trouble can expect to be locked up.
Two 19-year-old women were put in the police detoxification cells by 11.30am on the October 6 Hastings raceday after turning up "very, very drunk". Their male friends had left them, so the women, who police said could barely stand, were taken for detox.
More examples of pre-loading - when someone consumes large amounts of alcohol before an event or heading out for the night - continued throughout the day.
Senior Sergeant Freddy van Duuren said while the event went well overall, there were still incidents of gross intoxication and irresponsible drinking. Those identified as "well and truly loaded" were denied entry at the races.
"Pre-loading is a major issue not just for police. It has flow-on effects to event organisers, bar staff, hospitals and other members of the public. If you're going to have a few drinks before going out, keep it to a few and don't write yourself off. You run a very high chance of being denied entry to an event, or a bar, if you turn up at the door already intoxicated."
He warned with the summer events season just getting under way, police would be working closely with event organisers and publicans to prevent such scenes. Event organisers would be encouraged to deny entry to anyone who showed obvious signs of intoxication, regardless of whether they had pre-bought tickets.
"Buying a ticket to an event does not give you automatic entry. Many events now have terms and conditions written on the ticket that state intoxicated patrons will not be allowed entry. So it's pointless turning up drunk to something you paid good money to attend and not be allowed in."
The warning also extended to Hawke's Bay bars. Those found drunk and causing trouble could expect to be arrested. "Bar owners and staff have a huge responsibility to keep drunken people out of their premises and to not serve people who are obviously drunk. The onus is on them to ... make sure they keep a lid on intoxication."