Wellington Scoop

Crime and crowds in Courtenay Place: meeting aims for greater safety and vibrancy

News from Wellington City Council
A response to recent violent behaviour in Courtenay Place was discussed yesterday at a solutions-seeking meeting hosted by Wellington Mayor Andy Foster.

Representatives of Police, First Retail, Wellington Hospitality and City Council councillors and staff met to discuss the need for a more strategic approach to the management of the night time economy building on the previous work by the Night Time Economy Forum which worked to manage alcohol related harm in the central city.

Issues discussed included increased violence-related crime and anti-social behaviour impacting on hospitality staff and patrons. Lighting, derelict buildings, crowded walkways, access to early morning public transport and the need for greater support of safe zones.

“A resolution to Courtenay Place issues requires a broad community approach around health, behaviour, design, enforcement and individual responsibility,” said Mayor Andy Foster.

The meeting resolved to revitalise the Night Time Forum, explore actions relating to CCTV monitoring, increase support for the work of Take 10 and looking at how initiatives within the Let’s Get Wellington programme can be harnessed to create more safer and vibrant Courtenay Place for all Wellingtonians.

“I’m really pleased that we got the opportunity to sit around the table in an honest and open way,” said Matt McLaughlin Wellington Hospitality NZ branch president.

“The Hospitality industry, Council and police are all on the same team and wanting the same outcome, a vibrant but safe night time economy where every feels safe and is safe. We understand the important part the industry can play in keeping the city safe, we see ourselves as part of the solution to the problems. I am looking forward to getting the Night Time Economy Forum back together again and working through the ideas that we have shared and heard today, ” said Mr McLaughlin.

Chris Wilkinson of First Retail commented that “It’s important that Courtenay Place is a safe and welcoming environment for all our community and visitors. We are pleased that this collaboration will support and enable these goals”.

“Wellington Police welcome the opportunity to continue working collaboratively with the Council and the city’s hospitality industry, says Acting Area Commander Inspector Dion Bennett.

“As a partnership, we all have the same goal – to make Wellington a safe and vibrant city to live in and visit. We all bring a different area of expertise to the table and this meeting was an important step towards achieving positive long-term solutions for our community.”

“Members of the Courtenay Place meeting group have agreed to focus on injecting further energy into developing Courtenay Place as a community asset,” said Mayor Foster. The group agreed to review progress in September.

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  1. Concerned citizen, 14. August 2020, 14:03

    We had a CCTV monitoring system but the Council and the Police shut it down.

  2. Peter Kerr, 14. August 2020, 17:48

    If you ever wanted to experience vigour and activity, you would not choose Courtenay Place. So often cold and dingy, day or night, you’re in for disappointment. If the need for vibration is great, you ought to visit Lagos or Luanda when travel restrictions end.
    Anyway, Hospitality NZ is only interested in “a vibrant but safe night time economy”. Vibrating tills and electromagnetic pay waves is what apparently drives “vibrancy”. The sooner we drop the use of this meaningless and stupid word, the better.

  3. wendy, 15. August 2020, 9:26

    Ironic isn’t it that after the Camera base in the Police station gets shut down by the WCC, the incidents of crime and violence increase and the safety of residents walking around the city decreases. The worst thing about this was the Camera base was staffed by a team of dedicated well trained volunteers. We gave up our time, took our “job” very seriously and were rewarded by knowing we had made a difference. Clearly not appreciated by the WCC.

  4. Concerned ratepayer, 16. August 2020, 14:38

    The volunteers of the Camera Base contributed 403 hours per month. So 2.5 full time staff members. 403 x $21.15 (living wage) = $8523 per month x 12 = $102,281 per year. Why would the council give that up to use ratepayers’ money for the replacement service?

  5. michael, 16. August 2020, 17:54

    I bet they don’t provide the same high standard of service the volunteers did.

  6. Travis, 18. August 2020, 6:57

    We need professionals in the role, not moral prudes. Hopefully some detached, full time staff will do a better role. There’s a reason we don’t have volunteer police.

  7. Traveller, 18. August 2020, 10:43

    I agree that “vibrancy” is the last word one would use to describe the fast-food shops and bars in Courtenay Place.

  8. wendy, 18. August 2020, 11:19

    Travis just because people do not get paid does not mean to say they are not professionals. All of the volunteers were highly skilled and went through rigorous training. Their work was done in accordance with police requirements and also overseen by a police officer. To call them moral prudes clearly shows your lack of knowledge of their value.