Inner city safety campaign working in Rotorua

Patrolling the Rotorua CBD, from left: Rotorua Lakes Council Safe City guardian Marcelle Morrison, Rotorua Police constable Marc Van Krieken, security staff Trevayze Wairepo and Hemiora Riki.

A reduction in anti-social and criminal behaviour in Rotorua’s CBD has resulted from a tougher line in policing the area.

Stung late last year by pointed comments from business leaders, the Rotorua Lakes Council and local police joined forces to clamp down on unsavoury activities which included intimidation and begging.

Vigilance has increased through the imposition of safety patrols and CCTV camera operations to catch miscreants.

A safety campaign augmented by the two bodies is having a positive impact, the council says in an end of week statement issued on Friday.

“People’s safety is paramount,” Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick says.

“And people should not have to put up with anti-social and criminal behaviour while they’re going about their day-to-day business.

“It’s really pleasing to hear that this initiative is having a positive effect and people are feeling safer.”

The council is aiming for “a safe and friendly” inner city environment for businesses, staff and the public through increased patrols and CCTV monitoring to deter anti-social and criminal behaviour and to deal promptly with emerging issues or incidents.

Since December 11, police, security staff and the Safe City Guardians have increased their presence in the inner city and are patrolling together whenever possible with patrols constant between 8am and 4am daily.

Feedback from members of the public and businesses has contributed to the pattern of improved behaviour.

Police and Council jointly launched the summer safety initiative in December following increased concern about CBD safety; a police survey revealed many people felt unsafe in the inner city at night.

Increased monitoring of the council’s CCTV footage from Thursdays to Sundays enabled more potential issues to be prevented and/or people who do engage in anti-social or criminal behaviour to be identified, the council said.

Daily briefings were held to share information.

“With locals on holiday and visitors, the number of people in our CBD swells during the busy summer period so it’s important to ensure everyone feels safe,” Chadwick says.

Rotorua Police Area Commander, Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi, says working more closely with Council’s Safe City Guardians and having security staff in the CBD is providing additional support for sometimes stretched police resources.

“It means if we are having to deal with issues elsewhere, we know we still have eyes and ears on the ground in the CBD who can deter bad behaviour and/or alert us if something does develop.”

The joint initiative will continue until at least the end of February. It will be reviewed earlier to determine if a need exists for it to continue. Cost considerations will be taken into account.


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