Thursday, April 25, 2024

Dunedin to step up security following overnight assault, vandalism

Dunedin City Council says a serious assault and vandalism in the central city overnight is indicative of some of the poor social behaviour being exhibited in the area.

Council and contractor Isaac Construction are currently upgrading the city’s George Street Retail Quarter and say abuse from members of the public has been an ongoing issue for staff.

“Unfortunately, while this latest incident does not appear to be connected to the George St Retail Quarter upgrade, our staff and our contractors have been facing an increasing level of verbal abuse while working in the area. Any verbal abuse or threatening behaviour is completely unacceptable,” said DCC Chief Executive, Sandy Graham.

“The work we’re doing above-ground is designed to make our main street a safer and more people-friendly space and staff are working hard to complete this first section. Incidents like last night’s only underscore the need for these improvements.”

Police say a 71-year-old man was hospitalised with serious injuries following an attack by a man who had been seen smashing shop windows in the CBD at around 2am this morning.

A 31-year-old man was arrested over the incident.

Isaac Construction Chief Executive, Jeremy Dixon said the company would be putting in place temporary measures to ensure everyone remains safe on the George St site.

This will include the use of security guards, body cameras and video surveillance on site, he said.

“It is a shame the actions of a small minority of people mean we have to take this step, but we need to do everything we can to protect our staff, the public and businesses in the area, who are all bearing the brunt of this behaviour,” said Mr Dixon.

Isaac staff have been supporting shop owners affected by the overnight incident, while also working to ensure public spaces are clear and businesses can reopen.

Ms Graham says the DCC supports the temporary changes to ensure the health and safety of everyone on site.

“I encourage everyone to be patient and respectful while the work in George Street continues. Our staff and contractors are all people too, with families, trying to do our best for the city.”

“We’re confident the results will be worth it,” she said.

A Dunedin man has been charged with intent to injure and four charges of intentional damage. He was expected to appear in the District Court today.

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