Too many Sevens arrests, maybe, but not as many as last year

The cops should have made fewer arrests, if a bigger tally was going to vex them.

That was Alf’s instinctive reaction to a somewhat ambiguous Herald on Sunday headline: Police disappointed with high number of arrests at Sevens

This doesn’t make sense. They made lots of arrests, according to the headline.

That’s their job.

But they were disappointed.

Why the disappointment? Too many arrests or too few?

According to data at the end of the HoS’s once-over-lightly report, the cops in fact made fewer arrests than at last year’s Sevens.

Ten fewer, which doesn’t sound significant until the number is turned into a percentage change: then it’s bloody near 10 per cent fewer.

Maybe the intro will help explain things, and especially the disappointment.

Hmm. Not really.

It says –

Wellington Police are disappointed after nearly 100 people were arrested in the capital over Sevens weekend.

So maybe they were hoping to do better than last year but fell disappointingly short.

The reality, of course, is that just one police officer has expressed disappointment.

And he was disappointed not by the arrest tally per se, but by the extent of the hoonish misbehaviour that created the law-and-order problems that occasioned the arrests.

Minor stuff, for the most part.

The arrests were related to breaches of the liquor ban, disorderly behaviour and minor assault.

But it’s hoonish misbehaviour nevertheless and your law-abiding Alf frowns deeply about it.

The cops made 52 arrests last night, according to the data provided by the cops, as fans poured on to the streets of the capital to celebrate New Zealand’s 24-7 win over Fiji.

A further six people were arrested at the stadium during the day, two for attempting to run onto the field, and four for disorder.

Yesterday police arrested 35 people for minor offences, including eight arrests at the stadium, bringing the total number of arrests to 95 over the two-day period.

Senior Sergeant Aiden Ellimes is quoted as saying the number of offences was unfortunate.

That’s a curious word.

Fortune did not really come into it, because he also is quoted as saying (in effect) that this amount of hoonish carry-on is not unusual on these occasions.

“It is disappointing that people have consumed so much alcohol that they have committed offences. But with such a huge influx of people, this kind of thing is expected.”

This implies the cops were braced for it.

As things turned out, the arrest count was down this year.

The number of arrests was a slight improvement on last year, when 105 people were arrested, with 42 of those arrests at the stadium.

Alf is bemused by use of the word “slight”.

It amounts to a reduction of 9.5 per cent.

If the numbers of arrests are an index of the Sevens mob’s behaviour, in other words, you could call it a 9.5 per cent improvement.

The cops should be celebrating, rather than expressing disappointment.

So why didn’t the hacks responsible for the Auckland rag’s story about events in Wellington make much more of this improvement?

Probably because it’s easier for them to simply record what a cop tells them than to think for themselves about the figures he has dished up.

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