Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New safety hubs for Auckland CBD

Central and Local Government today announced a range of measures aimed at tackling low-level crime and anti-social behaviour in the Auckland CBD.

Police Minister, Ginny Andersen said the new measures will complement a scaling up of Police presence in the area.

“Police have an important role to play in preventing and responding to crime, but there is more we can do to support them in addressing some of the anti-social behaviour that makes central Auckland feel unsafe,” Ms Andersen said.

“In addition to retaining the highly successful safety hub at Queens Wharf established by Heart of the City for the Women’s FIFA World Cup, we’re establishing three additional hubs at High Street, Queen Street and Karangahape Road,” said Minister for Auckland, Carmel Sepuloni said.

Working together with volunteer wardens and Community Patrols New Zealand, the four new safety hubs will be developed as a base for community patrols and Māori and ethnic wardens, allowing a more effective presence in the city centre of safety personnel.

These hubs will be a base for community volunteers, like Community Patrols NZ volunteers and Māori wardens, to provide additional safety support at key locations across Auckland Central. The hubs will be staffed by Community Patrols NZ volunteers and Ngā Watene Māori O Akarana wardens, and supported by the Police. 

The hubs will be open to the public – they will be equipped to respond quickly to minor incidents, provide assistance, and to help connect individuals with emergency services.

The establishment of the additional safety hubs is expected by the end of next month, with the support of $100,000 of Government funding.

“Police will always be the first responders to crime, but these wardens and Community Patrollers are able to deal with lower-level anti-social behaviour, which will free up Police time to deal with more serious crime,” Minister Andersen said.

“Having engaged with various businesses and stakeholders, it’s clear that to keep the heartbeat of Auckland’s CBD alive and thriving, locals and businesses need and deserve to feel safe,” Ms Sepuloni said.

“We saw real success following the safety hub established as part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and our announcement today will build upon that success. The hub had great feedback from Aucklanders, including that it provided a tangible community safety presence.”

Minister Andersen said Police will continue to provide support to community warden groups and patrol groups participating in the Safety Hub.

“In addition, Police have significantly increased the number of foot patrols by 243 per cent in Auckland’s city centre over the past year and established a new base to assist with their increased foot patrols,” she said.

Mayor Wayne Brown says Auckland Council will match the $100,000 for the initiative from funding set aside in the annual budget for safety initiatives.

“Auckland Council has committed to a full-time coordinator to ensure a joined-up approach with the Māori, Pacific, and ethnic Wardens, alongside Community Patrols New Zealand and Police. Further funding could be made available if the hubs prove to be a success,” he said.

Deputy Mayor, Desley Simpson said Aucklanders deserved to feel safe when moving in and around Auckland’s central business area.

“We welcome any initiative that gives people confidence to spend time in the city centre enjoying all that it has to offer,” she said.

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