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Manukau to consider community safety patrols

Corrected Media Release
19 September 2008

Manukau to consider community safety patrols

Manukau City Council’s Policy and Activities Committee resolved that the use of private security guards to enhance community safety patrols in Manukau be considered as part of the 2009/19 Long Term Council Community Plan.

The committee has resolved that funding for the initiative be included for consideration in the 2009-19 Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP). An estimated $2,870,925 would allow three teams of five guards to be available to be deployed across the city on a 24-hour, 7-day basis. The committee also recommended that the council seeks funding from central government for additional security measures in Manukau city as part of the LTCCP.

Portfolio Leader for Community Safety Dick Quax says that community feedback shows that community safety remains the top priority for Manukau’s residents.

“The 2007 Citizen’s Perception Survey told us that the two main issues residents want the council to address were ‘crime, policing, gangs and personal safety’ and ‘graffiti’,” says Cr Quax.

“The council recognises the benefit of visible crime prevention services and contributes to the policing of public spaces in the city at present.

“The council has also engaged private security providers for the protection of council assets and some public spaces. This includes the use of council’s security provider for the Walkwise programme and use of static guards and alarm response for council buildings.

“We believe that highly visible and readily available security patrols are able to reassure the public and increase perceptions of safety in public places. It is evident however that the Police can no longer be considered as the primary provider of patrolling services in the city. Police resources are stretched and are concentrated on response, investigation and community education.

“We needed to look at alternate services to patrol the city and act as visible deterrents to crime and disorder.”

The committee had a number of options available:
(i) Maintain current resource allocation between volunteer and professional security providers.
(ii) Reallocate existing resources in favour of volunteer or professional security at the expense of the other.
(iii) Increase spending on community safety patrols using professional security, volunteer groups or both.

“We’ve recommended a security solution that is mobile and can be used to saturate particular areas of the city as the need arises,” says Cr Quax.

In Manukau, there are a number of groups that would need to be effectively coordinated to ensure optimum coverage of the city and reduce duplication. This would include any professional security scheme, Town Centre Ambassadors, volunteer groups and even Police operations.

The council acknowledges that Police support and involvement is vital in this project Cr Quax says that the Police will remain the primary partner in crime prevention and leader of a coordinated system of patrols carried out by a mixture of Police, volunteer and private enterprises.

Residents will have the opportunity to voice their opinions about this proposed initiative through the LTCCP process in early 2009.

ENDS

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