Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Auckland city centre partners join forces for safer streets

Auckland Council Group has joined forces with NZ Police, government agencies, business associations and social support services to enhance safety in Auckland’s city centre under the collective banner ‘Together for Tāmaki Makaurau’.

Their aim is for an improved and more visible safety presence, from Karangahape Road to the waterfront.  

The Council says it has received considerable feedback that the boosted presence will help residents, businesses and visitors feel safer.  

“I believe all Aucklanders should feel safe in the city. A safe city is one where people feel comfortable living, working, and playing,” said Mayor Wayne Brown.

“I am comfortable that we have the right approach, so I encourage people to come into the city during the festive season to enjoy themselves at our planned events and to shop at our prime retail spots.

“I want to thank the organisations that are partnering with us and the people who are volunteering time on a goodwill basis. It is greatly appreciated,” says the Mayor.

As part of this focus on collaboration, a series of weekly Together for Tāmaki Makaurau partnership days are being trialled in the run up to Christmas.

Various groups will provide a high visibility street presence in the city centre, with Auckland Council CityWatch and Compliance teams, Police, Māori Wardens and Community Patrols NZ (CPNZ) coordinating efforts to set expectations for appropriate conduct and address issues around anti-social behaviour and crime.

These days are representative of a strengthened and ongoing collaboration as key groups continue to coordinate activities into the new year, Council said in a statement.

Council’s Director of Regulatory Services, Craig Hobbs says the Together for Tāmaki Makaurau collaboration is just one of many initiatives the council has been working on alongside its social and commercial partners including Heart of the City and Karangahape Road Business Association to improve experiences and public perceptions of safety in the city centre.

“It’s been fantastic to see so many public and private organisations express an interest to come together in support of our shared goal to make our city centre a safe and vibrant place to live, work and enjoy,” he said.

“In addition to the safety initiatives, there is also a concerted effort underway to draw more people into the city centre, with attractive spaces, activations and events which will help make our places busier, and therefore safer too.”

Auckland Central Area Commander, Inspector Grant Tetzlaff says Police are continuing to build strong relationships with a range of partner agencies in the central city, which supports initiatives such as this. 

“Police have been working with our partners to support and complement the work we each do every day,” says Inspector Tetzlaff.

“Police are focused on our staff being visible and mobile across the city centre where there is high demand or as part of prevention activity. We are continuing to focus on having staff on the beat for our community to engage with. 

“Working alongside other guardians and coordinating our deployment in our city centre will help in reassuring the public as they move safely through public spaces.”

Equal funding from Auckland Council and the Proceeds of Crime Fund (POCF) administered by the Ministry of Justice has enabled the council to appoint a dedicated City Safety Coordinator to work across all city centre safety activities. 

The funding is supporting the continued operation of a safety hub at Queen’s Wharf operated by trained volunteers from Community Patrols NZ (CPNZ), as well as a pilot of two additional hubs in High Street and Queen Street.

The new hubs will provide operational bases for the various volunteer groups who give their time to make our city feel safe, including CPNZ and Māori and Pacific Wardens. While the current focus is very much on ensuring a high level of visibility in the community, there are plans for the additional hubs to be public facing. 

Auckland Council, with support from key partners, has also established an online safety portal which enables residents, workers and visitors to take action on safety issues and find the right contact information quickly.

The portal can be found online at Community safety and support (aucklandcouncil.govt.nz).

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