31 Oct 2022

Christchurch Business Association calls for greater police presence in city

7:14 pm on 31 October 2022
Christchurch Bus Interchange building.

Central Christchurch has seen a spike in youth crime, mostly around the central bus terminal. File photo. Photo: RNZ / Niva Chittock

A Christchurch Business Association is calling for police to increase its presence in the central city following a recent spate of violence, theft and anti-social behaviour.

Videos of attacks surfacing over the past few days and a spike in youth crime in central Christchurch, mostly around the central bus terminal, has put businesses in the area on alert.

Christchurch Central City Business Association chair Annabel Turley told Checkpoint the increase in violence and crime was not confined to the central city.

"Unfortunately the central city is not isolated in the area that this sort of thing is happening, it does seem to be happening across the city, across the country and t's just really really disappointing that there's not the police resources to deal with this."

The association had begun funding a specialised security team which she said led to a significant decrease in anti-social behaviour and crime incidents reported by its members.

She said the security team was responsible for helping members of the public in the central city with directions and queries, while also assisting businesses who were dealing with theft and petty crimes.

The team of trained security staff was initially established as part of a jointly funded trial between the business association and the Christchurch City Council, she said.

However, overwhelming feedback from its members following the conclusion of the trial led the association to continue the service, she said.

The association has been footing the bill since the initial trial came to an end, which Turley said was costing the association approximately $60,000 every three months.

Turley said they had been paying for a service that police should have been providing, despite earlier promises of increased policing in the CBD from the government.

"We were promised when another member of the executives and I met with the prime minister, once MIQ ended we would see police on our streets."

"They're essentially performing the role of the police... really as taxpayers we pay tax to have police keeping us safe."

Meanwhile, Christchurch police said they were confident they have arrested a group of youths responsible for recent assaults and vehicle thefts across the city.

A 14-year-old has appeared in youth court on 81 charges including assaults with intent to injure, aggravated robbery and theft.

Three others are being dealt with by Youth Aid.

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