Manukau: Action On The Street At Last
Commentary by Len Brown – Manukau mayoral candidate
The Police have announced the establishment of a new Youth Action Team for the Eastern suburbs to cover the Otara, Botany, Clevedon, Pakuranga and Howick wards. This is great news.
To successfully confront and deal with our present gang issues we need to manage this challenge with both prevention and enforcement action. Our community youth workers such as those working with 274 can focus across our city on prevention. To stop our kids from joining, or to get them out if they do join.
Equally important we need these rapid response Police teams on the streets and enforcing the law when prevention does not work and public safety is endangered. We therefore have an effective two pronged approach now operating, as a positive action plan to meet this challenges.
The greater challenge though, and the proof of whether we are really getting to grips with this problem is whether we are attacking the cause of so much of our gang and criminal behaviour. The drugs trade. It fuels the gangs, drives the burglary's and wrecks families and young lives right across our city. Our communities have been demanding of our leaders and the Police that we cut off supply, close the Tinnie houses and the P labs.
People in all our communities know of these places and the Police know. It is time for our primary enforcement focus to be on closing down the supply lines. The Police must and can act now .Target the drugs, save our kids.
We all hate graffiti and feel angry that Parliament has refused to legislate our bylaw for action on graffiti. That bylaw however was always only part of the solution. It is crucial for us to focus on what we have achieved and our future action plan.
We have been focussed on education, eradication and enforcement. The Manukau Beautification Trust , with Rev Mark Beales leadership have done great work for the city on the first two actions , and can do much more if allowed. Rather than talk of increasing our response time ,"to show Parliament" we need to really strengthen and extend the Trusts focus on immediate eradication as our front line against tagging.
It is necessary to ensure the most effective graffiti eradication with the first 24 hour of any tag, that it is wiped. As Mark says," Tags create tags." The Trust has proved it credibility and in my view all the Graffiti work for the city should be undertaken by the Trust. The Council therefore needs to return the contract for cleaning graffiti on Council toilets to the Trust's control.
We also need to advocate strongly to Vector to give its contract for cleaning graffiti off its green control boxes, to the Trust. These boxes are the most actively graffitied public assets in our city, because the taggers know that their tags won't get wiped out straight away.
The Police have sufficient powers to act against the taggers under the Police Offences Act, but they need our judiciary to be more active on this matter. Our Judges need to appreciate the deep anger within the whole community for this type of criminal damage and reflect our communities feeling through strong sentencing and sending clear messages to these offenders in a similar manner to the courts strong sentencing for DVD piracy.
These taggers are members of our community. Mark estimates between 200 to 300.A small number of our people causing immense damage to our property and pride. Their tag makes them famous. We need them to be famous for their schooling, work or sport. With our Police, youth workers and Courts working with their families and us, we must stop them or enforce the law against them.