Thursday, May 23, 2024

Auckland Mayor backs city safety measures with funding

Auckland Mayor, Wayne Brown, has approved an additional $570,000 to help fund a City Safety Coordinator and the establishment of volunteer community safety patrols.

This City Safety Coordinator will facilitate the city’s new safety hubs and help support the recruitment and operation of the volunteer community patrols who will use the hubs: Community Patrols NZ, Māori, Pacific and community wardens, and ethnic patrol groups.

Dedicated enforcement officers to address homelessness within the CBD have also been brought on board with the funding, as well as an investment in monitoring CCTVs as a method of crime prevention. There has also been an expansion of CityWatch of 12 new recruits onboarded this week allowing active patrol of hotspots using the increased CCTV monitoring.

Mayor Brown says the combined approach addresses key drivers of city unrest.

“City safety is important, and these issues are complex; we must strike a balance between enforcement and support,” he said.

“My office has a sensible plan here that considers crime reduction, social wellbeing, and the activation of public spaces. All three form a more lively and safer city for Aucklanders.”

The Mayor says the city business association should front up to better support safety efforts in the city.

“It’s disappointing that the Mayoral Office has to put additional funding towards this given the $4.8 million Heart of the City receives in targeted business rates funding. They don’t invest sufficiently in security.”

The Mayoral Office approach and funding compliment the partnerships founded by Eke Panuku and Auckland Council between community organisations and police. The more coordinated multi-agency approach will develop a city centre safety plan for dealing with safety and anti-social behaviour, the Mayor said.

“These are the people on our streets who understand the issues best. I have already met many of these groups and believe they will do well,” he said.

“My office is currently investigating further partnerships with government departments and BIDS for business groups to extend these services to provide a regional response.”

Part-funded by the Mayor’s office, initiatives now underway include:

  • The pilot hubs –Three pilot safety coordination hubs at Queens Wharf, High Street and Day Street. Part-funded by MBIE, these function as bases for patrolling teams – including Community Patrols NZ, Māori, Pacific and community wardens and ethnic patrol groups.
  • A City Safety Coordinator – Funded by the mayor’s office and in place since December, the City Centre Safety Coordinator’s role is to support the recruitment and operation of volunteer community patrols and manage coordination of the safety hubs.
  • Community Patrol Volunteers – The new coordinator role has already resulted in a successful community volunteer recruitment drive resulting in volunteer numbers increasing fivefold, to nearly 60. Training of these new recruits is now underway, led by the safety coordinator. This is supported by a new sustainable recruitment partnership model for ongoing community patrols, working with the police and AUT.
  • Expansion of council CityWatch allowing active patrol of hotspots – Funding from the mayor has seen the council’s City Watch team increase from 6 to 18 for an initial trial period of four months, beginning last month.
  • Community outreach investment – An additional $60,000 funding (ringfenced for CBD including Karangahape Road only) has been secured to expand support to our outreach partners who work to place street whānau in secure housing.
  • Enhanced CCTV – Additional CCTV operators will work alongside Police and Auckland Transport camera operators and coordinate closely with our CityWatch teams to identify issues and direct wardens to incidents as they happen.

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