Improved liquor ban signage, larger taxis for groups of weekend drinkers, and more safety officers in the CBD during the summer are some of the first initiatives to come from a joint-agency approach to improving community safety in Ashburton.
The new approach was initiated by the Ashburton District Council last month and involves the Council, Ashburton Police, Safer Ashburton and other key agencies working together on a combined community safety strategy.
Mayor Angus McKay said the agencies met last week at the invitation of the Police to discuss increasing the number of safety officers in the CBD during the summer, when more people are in town drinking on Friday and Saturday nights. A key role for the safety officers will be to organise groups of people, who live in the same area, into taxis, so that they can get home faster. "We all agreed it was a good idea and now we just need a few more volunteers to join Town Watch," he said.
Anyone aged over 18 years can become a volunteer by contacting Town Watch volunteers Russell on 308-6012 or Jill on 308-1419.
At last week's meeting, the Council was able to report that signage had recently been upgraded in liquor ban areas and Ashburton Taxis announced that it was introducing two 10-seater vans to take larger groups of people home in the early hours of the mornings on weekends.
Mayor McKay said that "unruly behaviour in Ashburton is actually much better than it has been in previous years but by coming together we can make our community even safer."