10 Feb 2014

Breath-testing 'an option' at Sevens

6:59 am on 10 February 2014

Breath-testing people going into Wellington's Westpac Stadium is an option being considered by the police as they decide how to deal with excessive drunkenness at the Sevens tournament.

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Photo: RNZ

Twenty people were arrested and 270 people ejected from the stadium while another 37 people were arrested for drink-related offences in the central city in what the police describe as a night of mayhem.

Police say the constant disorder kept them very busy from 10.30pm on Saturday until 7am on Sunday.Those arrested will appear in court this week.

A spokesperson said police were very disappointed by the total number of arrests over the two days.

Police said security at the stadium was better on Saturday than Friday, but the levels of intoxication were too high.

Inspector John Spence said police are reviewing the two-day event and will decide whether to take further action against the stadium and its liquor licence.

He said part of the problem is people arrive at the stadium having already drunk a lot of alcohol. Breath testing is an option, he said, though processing 29,000 people on their way to a stadium may not be possible.

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the Sevens tournament was a success for the city, the vast majority of the crowd were well-behaved and ambulance staff reported they dealt with fewer incidents than last year.

But she says it's important for bar staff to be vigilant about not serving people if they are intoxicated.

The Wellington Sevens is estimated to bring in $18 million to the local economy. Next year's event will be part of an Olympic qualifying series and organisers are hoping that will mean more focus on the rugby and less on drinking.