Public Police Forum

Community safety is an important part of why it is so good to live in the Ashburton District.

And you, the residents of this district are a vital part of keeping us safe, as you are the eyes and the ears of our community. You will always be able to see and hear more than authorities such as the Police and Council.

To give you an opportunity to voice your opinions on community safety, Ashburton District Council, Ashburton Police, and Safer Ashburton District are hosting a public forum at the Hotel Ashburton, on Racecourse Road, on Saturday 15 September. The forum will start at 4pm and will be an open discussion with residents about what we can all do to make our communities even safer. Ashburton senior sergeant Phil Dean says topics such as road safety, youth crime, suicide, and alcohol and drugs will be included on the agenda.

The forum will also be a great opportunity to learn more about the Safer Communities accreditation that our district is currently working towards. Earlier in the year, as part of the Council’s annual community grants and funding process, community organisation Safer Ashburton District was allocated additional funding to lead the accreditation process for our district.

The Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand defines a safe community as one “where people can go about their daily activities in an environment without fear, risk of harm or injury”. It extends beyond the reduction and prevention of injury and violence to include safe roads, public spaces, and workplaces. More than 50 per cent of New Zealand’s population lives within an accredited safe community. Each community has to create its own goals and priorities based on local needs.

Under the Local Government Amendment Act 2014, Council has to regularly assess the cost effectiveness of delivering its services. This is called a Section 17a Review. The results of a recent Section 17a review on the community safety portfolio, which included Safer Ashburton as a local services provider, recommended that the organisation lead the Safer Communities accreditation.

A working group, made up of representatives from a broad variety of organisations across the community, has been formed as part of the process. A part-time coordinator was also recently employed by Safer Ashburton District to oversee the project. A collaborative action plan is being developed, which will include actions for how we, as a community, can work together in partnership to achieve the accreditation. It will be a community effort and one that we can all contribute something towards in achieving the outcomes.

We are also very fortunate in Ashburton to have Neighbourhood Support and Ashburton Town Watch Community Patrol in our midst.

There are more than 300 Neighbourhood Support groups around the district, aiming to build connections between neighbours, reduce isolation, share information, and lower rates of offending through signage and awareness. 

The Community Patrol is always on the look out for more volunteers so if you have a few hours spare once a month on Saturdays to help out with patrolling, have a look at the groups Facebook page @AshburtonTownWatch to get in touch with them. Members also help to monitor the towns security cameras.

Recently, Ashburton District Council announced that more than 2500 LED street lights will be installed across the district by the end of December this year. Research from New Zealand Transport Association (NZTA) suggests that improvements to street lighting could reduce the number of road crashes by about 30 per cent. The street lights will also help to make neighbourhoods safer with the increased brightness acting as a deterrent to petty crime. All of these factors, and many more, contribute greatly to the general safety of our district and its residents.

I look forward to seeing a good turn out to the public forum on September 15 and I strongly encourage anyone who is interested to come along, share your thoughts, and hear about how we can all work together to make our community a safer one.

Page reviewed: 26 Sep 2018 12:43pm