Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Early Thursdays.

Before I get into the topic I'll get onto that update I promised regarding the Christchurch City Council and its opposition to the Seabed and Foreshore Bill. It all ended up a bit insipid really. The Council had its tail tucked firmly between its legs muttering that it didn't want to get into a "confrontation with Government" and what it was seeking "meaningful dialogue". Typical local government lolly-gagging really. Note to the CCC; if you don't want to get into a confrontation with the Government then perhaps you shouldn't describe its consultation as "woefully inadequate".

Now on to the fun stuff.

I heard an interesting story from a local copper the other day which just illustrates how the low income nature of Christchurch can affect the nightlife and determine what nights prove to be the busiest for the boys in blue. Yes Fridays and Saturdays are nights when they make a lot of arrests, no surprise there. But I was a little shocked to discover Wednesday night/Thursday morning is also a busy time ... especially in some of the city's more insalubrious establishments.

It works like this. Christchurch is a low income city and we have our fair share of beneficiaries. Their benefits get paid at midnight on Wednesday, but the automatic payments (eg fines etc) don't go out until 6 am Thursday morning. This means they have 6 hours to spend up large before it disappears, and apparently this is exactly what they do. The policeman told me the early hours of Thursday morning is one of the busiest times of the week for the city's prostitutes and bars (definitely not frequented by the Chardonnay set) do a roaring trade as well.

This point was rammed home in emphatic fashion when the beat section decided to do an early morning walk around on a Thursday morning a couple of weeks ago. The officers walked into an inner city bar, which my policeman friend described as one of the rougher joints in the inner city, and discovered around 300 people inside. This at 5.30 on a Thursday morning. Needless to say the officers back pedalled rapidly and made a hasty exit. "They would have been eaten alive" was the description I heard. Anyway they went back to the central police station and then (following the theory that there's safety in numbers) the entire night shift was called out to go back to the bar to make sure it, and its occupants, were on the straight and narrow.

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