Day pa­trols to boost safety in the city


A city am­bas­sador scheme is be­ing launched in Palmer­ston North to avoid a re­peat of last sum­mer’s crime spree, when groups of young peo­ple cre­ated may­hem in the cen­tral city, prompt­ing a pub­lic rally against youth vi­o­lence.

The city coun­cil has ap­proved a $32,200 trial this sum­mer to em­ploy two peo­ple to be a rov­ing pres­ence to make vis­i­tors to town feel safe and dis­cour­age an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

The Safe City hosts, 20-year veter­ans of pa­trolling cen­tral Palmer­ston North by night, will be turn­ing their hand to day­time crime preven­tion.

Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, li­braries and com­mu­nity ser­vices man­ager Ian Lit­tle­worth said their role would be more about be­ing city hosts than se­cu­rity guards.

Lit­tle­worth said there had been an­other rash of ‘‘quite se­vere’’ in­ci­dents in­volv­ing a ‘‘small but de­ter­mined’’ group of youths about six weeks ago around the City Li­brary, Ge­orge St and The Square.

Be­hav­iour ranged from in­tim­i­da­tion to prop­erty dam­age, ‘‘and a lot in be­tween’’.

The li­brary had re­sorted to us­ing se­cu­rity guards on the door dur­ing school hol­i­days to keep li­brary staff and vis­i­tors safe. On sev­eral oc­ca­sions the guards had needed to call for po­lice as­sis­tance.

A pub­lic rally was held in Fe­bru­ary after a spate of vi­o­lent and in­tim­i­dat­ing al­ter­ca­tions, and petty crime, at­trib­uted to young of­fend­ers. The am­bas­sador scheme has been rec­om­mended by the Safety Ad­vi­sory Board, which in­cludes po­lice and a range of agen­cies.

Po­lice rep­re­sen­ta­tive and area preven­tion man­ager Dave White said hav­ing an­other set of ca­pa­ble guardians in and around the CBD over the sum­mer months could only im­prove the pos­i­tive feel of the city.

Board chair­man Vaughan Den­ni­son said the im­pe­tus for the trial was about deal­ing with an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, with ex­tra ‘‘eyes and ears on the street’’ us­ing their es­tab­lished con­nec­tions to po­lice. But they would also con­trib­ute to the coun­cil’s strate­gies of mak­ing the city more cre­ative, live­able and con­nected.

The scheme re­ceived a luke warm re­sponse from some coun­cil­lors, with five of the 15 present vot­ing against it.

The trial is sched­uled to run from the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber to the end of Fe­bru­ary.


Ge­orge St in Palmer­ston North has seen prob­lems with anti-so­cial young peo­ple.

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