‘Together for Tāmaki Makaurau’ gains momentum in making the city centre safer

Last Updated : 16 Apr 2024
City Centre Safety

From increased CityWatch patrols to the establishment of the City Centre Safety Plan, a series of new initiatives aimed at improving safety in the city centre and ensuring it continues to be a welcoming place are well underway thanks to the collective work of the ‘Together for Tāmaki Makaurau’ partnership.

Established in November 2023, the partnership aims to provide an improved and more visible safety presence in the city centre, from Karangahape Road to the waterfront. 

Together with its urban regeneration agency, Eke Panuku, Auckland Council has been working alongside NZ Police, government agencies, business associations and social support services, to develop an integrated safety plan for the city centre.

The objective of the safety plan is to build community confidence and awareness around the collective work being done within the ‘Together for Tāmaki Makaurau’ partnership. It will underpin work to improve the experience of people in the city centre and support the residential community, which are two key focus areas of the overall City Centre Action Plan.

Chair of the Regulatory and Community Safety Committee, Councillor Josephine Bartley, says the City Centre Safety Plan has come in response to feedback from the public and community groups that concerns around safety are impacting people’s enjoyment of our city centre. 

“Tāmaki Makaurau’s city centre has so much to offer, and we want everyone to feel they can enjoy it safely. While police analysis has shown crime levels have been easing off in recent months, there is still a perception that anti-social and nuisance behaviour is impacting people’s ability to feel welcome and secure in the city centre.” 

“Improving safety and community confidence is a complex issue that no one agency can own alone, but together with our partners we’ve already introduced some new measures that will make a real difference.” 

In addition to this, the council has agreed to look at its use of the Public Safety & Nuisance Bylaw 2022. This will consider enhanced enforcement options and whether these could be used to address ongoing concerns with city centre safety and nuisance.

Auckland Council’s Compliance Manager, Adrian Wilson says, “There is a perception that the homeless are the cause of most safety issues in the city centre. This is simply not the case and reports back from our CityWatch teams, social service outreach providers and compliance officers tell us they are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators.”

“We know from police reports that alcohol-related crime plays a significant role in city centre violence and yet somehow homelessness ends up the centre of attention in this space. The ‘Together for Tāmaki Makaurau’ partnership are focussing on a collective effort of community outreach, safety patrols, compliance, and police to tackle this complex issue.”

The below list identifies initiatives now underway that have been resourced by the ‘Together for Tāmaki Makaurau’ partnership and part-funded by the mayor’s office.

Expansion of council CityWatch

Funding from the mayor has seen the council’s CityWatch team increase from 6 to 18 for an initial trial period of four months, beginning last month. Wardens address low level antisocial behaviour such as obstruction, and general nuisance issues. The expanded team will cover larger areas of the city centre for longer hours as well actively patrolling known hotspots including Te Komititanga, Queens Wharf and Ellen Melville Place. Options will be considered for funding the expansion on an ongoing basis at the end of the financial year. 

Safety coordination hubs

Three operational safety co-ordination hubs have been setup at Queens Wharf, High Street and Day Street. Part-funded by MBIE, these are modelled on Heart of the City’s Queens Wharf pilot initiative and function as bases for patrolling teams — including Community Patrols NZ, Māori, Pacific and community wardens and ethnic patrol groups — to collaborate and coordinate.

A City Centre 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 patrols volunteer recruitment drive

The new coordinator role has already resulted in a successful community volunteer recruitment drive with community patrol 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. 

Community outreach investment

An additional $60,000 funding has been secured to expand support to an outreach partner working to place street whānau in secure housing.

Enhanced CCTV

Additional CCTV operators who will work alongside police/Auckland Transport camera operators and coordinate closely with our CityWatch teams are being employed to enhance CCTV coverage in the city centre. This dedicated resource will identify issues and direct wardens to incidents as they happen.

Need to act on a safety issue and find the right contact information quickly? Visit the online safety portal at Community safety and support (aucklandcouncil.govt.nz).


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