ROTORUA MAYOR STEVE CHADWICK
ROTORUA POLICE AREA COMMANDER INSPECTOR ANARU PEWHAIRANGI
WAIARIKI MP TAMATI COFFEY
12 December 2018
Safety is a number one priority for all of us.
Rotorua Lakes Council and local police have worked together on a coordinated summer safety campaign for the central city in response to growing concern about inner city safety during recent months.
This was prompted by the results of a recent citizens satisfaction survey which was conducted by police and showed more than half of respondents, mainly women, did not feel safe in Rotorua’s inner city at night.
Initiatives already being implemented in the central city include increased police and security staff during the daytime and at night, and increased monitoring of council CCTV footage. Council staff and Police have met again today [Wednesday 12 December] to finalise the plan.
“We need to rid our city of this type of behaviour and we will work with police and others to achieve that result,” Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says. “We don’t want our inner city ruined because of criminal opportunists – whoever they may be.
“Safety in the community is of paramount importance for all of us and criminal, undesirable and intimidating behaviour is totally unacceptable.”
Council is working with police on actions to ensure Rotorua’s inner city is a safe and enjoyable environment for residents, visitors and inner city business operators and their staff. A longer-term approach will be implemented but the busy summer period is the initial focus.
The joint approach and response will be constantly monitored and re-assessed in the New Year as Council and the Police continue working on longer-term actions.
“We have created a more vibrant inner city, including work to improve safety, but having more people around can also create more opportunity for undesirable behaviour. Both Council and the police have a role in dealing with this,” Mayor Chadwick says.
Rotorua Police Area Commander, Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi, says there is zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour and a swift, joint approach is being taken.
“Standover tactics is criminal behaviour and there is no room for intimidation in our city.
“We have been aware of growing concern about inner city safety – which has been further highlighted by the citizens survey – and are working closely with council surveillance and security staff. This provides additional surveillance coverage that is helping us to address issues that are spotted and reported and ultimately helps us apprehend offenders,” Inspector Pewhairangi says.
Inner city businesses and the community can help by contacting police about concerns and by reporting incidents to police as they happen, he says. “We are aware reporting incidents isn’t necessarily happening and we want to reassure people that there will be a response if there is trouble.
“Working together with council provides an opportunity to bring about change and we also need support from others – this is not just a police and council problem.
“We’ve all been concerned about a concentration of anti-social behaviour and activity since the relocation of the drop-in centre and are also trying to work with the operators to eliminate those concerns. However, we can’t say that the people using the drop-in centre are solely responsible for the behaviour we are seeing in the inner city. What we do know is we have a problem and we will be taking action.
Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey supports the initiative.
“I’m pleased to see Council and Police come together to find local solutions to deal with a problem that seems to be growing.
“As MP, I fully support these initiatives and will take these initiative to my colleagues in Wellington who face similar problems in their towns and cities.
“As a CBD business owner, I am also relieved that we will have increased security options in our inner city. We can’t do business when our customers and staff are feeling unsafe. Heading into our peak season, it's reassuring to know there is a plan in place,” Mr Coffey says.
“Rotorua needs to remain a place attractive to both locals and visitors, and we all need to band together to achieve that outcome.”