Monday, 1 October 2007 - 2:17pm |
National News

Safety in the home and on the street

4 min read

Safety in the home and on the street continues to be a priority in Counties Manukau. Our goal is to continue making people feel safe in their home as well as out in the community says Counties Manukau District Commander Steve Shortland.

"Family violence and disorder on the streets of Counties Manukau are areas where we have focussed our efforts for some time now and today's results reflect the consistent approach to these two issues."

Over the last year the District has created two (in the East and West) youth action teams who have been successful in defusing potential outbreaks of disorder, increasing police presence on the street and using proactive methods to identify trouble spots.

For example, the East Area (covering Howick, Botany and Otara) team report that in partnership with community groups, they have reduced the number of large groups congregating, drinking and loitering in public places, particularly in Otara. This is having an effect on reducing the risk of conflict between large alcohol fuelled groups. The Youth action team's presence on the street is becoming common place and anecdotal stories from the street suggest trouble makers are feeling the pinch.

An increase of 11.5% in disorder arrests has contributed towards the large number of arrests made in the District overall. Since it opened in February this year the new Manukau Police Station has processed over 10,500 arrests which is 4.1% up on the previous year.

Mr Shortland says opportunities to increase visibility, be more proactive and increase presence in the community have been enhanced by the additional staff that Counties Manukau has received. An extra 56 staff arrived in the District last year and 21 are allocated for this year.

"There is a co-relation between disorder and consuming liquor in public places. As a result police have made the most of the Manukau City Council's resolve to increase liquor ban areas. Supported by the District Team Policing unit, staff have enforced these bans, focussing on potential trouble spots and increasing the number charged with liquor ban breaches by 26%."

"This zero tolerance stance has also been supported with good work by the District Licensing Unit, who is working closely with Manukau City Council in holding those to account who do not comply with licensing rules. Project Walkthrough has also been a success story with the District Iwi liaison officers working with Maori wardens in many parts of Counties Manukau, in an effort to focus on the host responsibility of liquor licensees ensuring alcohol is purchased, served and consumed in safe environments."

In support of the strategy to make streets safer, Counties Manukau District has also joined an Auckland-wide project to reduce graffiti, in conjunction with the seven TLA's and two other police Districts across Auckland.

Mr Shortland says work has already begun with the appointment of Sergeant Ian Pengelly as the Counties Manukau graffiti liaison officer.

"Research suggests graffiti makes the community feel unsafe and can be linked to other offending such as disorderly behaviour, property damage and encourages undesirables to roam the streets looking for trouble. Combating graffiti will be a focus in the coming year."

The District has maintained its commitment to reducing disorder and other types of offending associated with boy racers. Each weekend a dedicated team of police officers go out to locate and target illegal street racers whose numbers range between 100 and 300 vehicles.

Mr Shortland says the number of street racers has reduced, but it is a problem which police continue to target. He says if the pressure comes off it could make the streets unsafe for law-abiding road users and increase the risk of disorder and other associated crime.

Family violence is an important issue which continues to challenge Police, the community and our partner agencies.

In the West area (covering Otahuhu, Papatoetoe and Mangere), which has a third of the District's reported family violence, a small team of four officers are dedicated to addressing this crime. Their strategy is to focus on the top ten families in their Area who repeatedly call for police assistance.

"In dealing with repeat offenders, the team identify addresses where there is a history of family violence, take a hard line with offenders, prosecute when necessary and refer families to support agencies such as victim support, women's refuge or CYFS, if there are children at risk."

Mr Shortland says he is encouraged by the general resolve by officers not only to reduce family violence but to target repeat offenders.

Mr Shortland says all in all the year has been eventful, challenging and, despite the pressures faced by Police, the Counties Manukau community have been well served by dedicated and committed officers.

"The overall crime results are pleasing and are a credit to Counties Manukau Police staff, the community and agency partners that we work with every day."

"The community can be assured that we will continue to concentrate our efforts over the next year in areas which impact the most on people, including street disorder, violence and family violence."




PH: 2590653