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Safe City A Step Closer

19 February 2002

A Safe City Strategy working group led by Hutt City Council met last week to begin work on the development of a Safe City Strategy for Hutt City.

The working group is made up of representatives from Council, Police, Child Youth & Family, WINZ, ACC, the Safer Community Council and Hutt Valley Health. More agencies are likely to become involved as work progresses.

The working group represents a 'holistic' approach to dealing with social issues in Hutt City and comes from a belief that we will succeed through coordinated and proactive action.

Hutt City project manager Janet Meredith said the working group would meet regularly to develop an all-encompassing strategy to identify and then implement specific programmes to improve safety in Hutt City.

"Council recognises that we can play a leadership role in helping keep our citizens safe through both facilitating this group and also such things as ensuring adequate street lighting, maintaining council facilities and working with key groups in the community," said Janet Meredith.

Hutt City Mayor John Terris said social issues were the responsibility of everyone in the city and everyone could play a part.

"We are mindful of our responsibility to ensure people feel safe in our city and will always look to new and innovative ways ensuring people's wellbeing," said Mayor Terris.

Hutt City Police district commander Bruce Dunstan was very supportive of the approach being taken.

"Lower Hutt Police are delighted to be part of the Hutt City safe city strategy. We recognise that there is a need for a coordinated approach between all government and social agencies to tackle crime/social problems in the city," said Bruce Dunstan.

"We will always have to respond to current crimes but we need strategies in place to prevent crime in the future. Families that are at risk of committing crime also have health, education and work problems which collectively contribute to put these families at risk."

Hutt Valley Health is another partner in the safe city strategy.

"Hutt Valley District Health Board is very keen to work with the Council and other agencies to make Hutt City a better place to live. This is a very positive initiative which we see real benefits in being part of.

"By working together, agencies must be able to make a more positive impact on the health and well-being of people in our community than we could by working separately and in isolation, said Stephen McKernan, chief executive, Hutt Valley Health.

The Working Group will meet regularly in the next few months to complete the strategy and also to agree specific projects for next year that could be undertaken on a collaborative basis.

Hutt City Council commissioned a safety audit late last year, which surveyed people about how safe they felt in various areas around the city. This work will be used by the Working Group in developing its strategy.

The definition of 'safety' being used by the working group is quite broad and includes crime, violence, safety with regard to accidents and the impact of being safe on the wellbeing of the community.


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