Ashburton District Council is to approach the Ashburton Police, Safer Ashburton and other key agencies about developing a combined community safety strategy.
The move is one of several recommendations that will be actioned, following a presentation to Council last week of a review of Ashburton's Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) use and community safety.
Other recommendations made by the reviewers, InToto Projects, included more strategic use of the district's CCTV cameras and better Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
In response, the Council will seek Requests for Proposals for the provision of CCTV cameras in the Central Business District (CBD), along with associated equipment and maintenance. Existing cameras are leased by the Council and are not in the best positions. It is also proposed that in the future cameras will be monitored at the Ashburton police station. Guidelines and procedures for the use of cameras, storage of images and the release of images will also be developed by the Council.
Mayor Angus McKay said, "The Report suggests a multi-pronged approach to strengthening community safety. By collaborating with other agencies, we can make the most of what is already being done and work together on issues that need more attention."
Overall, crime rates remain low in Ashburton* but in recent months there has been some concern about a few incidences of violence and vandalism in the CBD and surrounding business area, Mr McKay said.
"In partnership with the Police, we are already working on reducing alcohol-related harm. This review offers more food for thought and actions we can take to maintain safe community spaces."
Recommendations in the review include:
- Use of CCTV in the CBD as one element of a wider approach to community safety.
- Development of a coalition of agencies focused on community safety.
- Making CPTED one of the initiatives in any future safety plan.
- Implementing a formal agreement between police and the Council that outlines how the organisations will work together to achieve safety outcomes.
- Developing an alcohol management plan to complement the Council's work under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
- Developing an education and awareness programme to reduce alcohol related harm associated with sport.
- Coordinating existing patrol services (Town Watch, Maori Wardens, Street Ambassadors).
The Report's Executive Summary and Summary of Recommendations are available here.
*Crime rates for the Mid Canterbury police area show there has been a decrease in burglary, theft and property damage in the 2013-14 year and only a very slight increase in violence. (See page 9 of the online report)