27 Sep 2023

Albany stabbing: Auckland Transport staff attend trauma workshops

9:01 pm on 27 September 2023
Police have launched a homicide investigation following an incident at Auckland's Albany Bus Station on 18 September 2023 where one person died and one was injured.

Police have launched a homicide investigation following an incident at Auckland's Albany Bus Station on 18 September 2023 where one person died and one was injured. Photo: RNZ / Jordan Dunn

Auckland Transport staff who saw a man fatally stabbed, or the aftermath of last week's attack at a bus station, are attending trauma recovery sessions this week.

A 24-year-old man died in hospital after being stabbed during an altercation at the Albany Bus Station on 18 September. A 16-year-old has been charged with murder.

The agency's safety manager Stacey van der Putten said 12 staff, including three who were in the station when the attack happened, were attending workshops with trauma experts.

"We do have more training and workshops planned for them this week, we want to make sure they have the appropriate support in terms of that experience, to get back out there," she said.

"It is about adverse effects from events like these and acknowledging the experience and working through that."

Some were still on trauma leave, she said.

AT has deployed more of its transport officers, whom it employs for security patrol, to the Northern Busway. Van der Putten said she wanted to double the number of transport officers, from 40 to 80.

"I'd like to have double the number we have today, the more the better, but we've got to look at how we can deploy them efficiently and [ensure] they're kept safe," she said.

"They're really highly trained. They're trained to be able to de-escalate situations."

No transport officers had lost jobs in the recent cost-cutting redundancies, when AT paid out $6 million to 147 staff who left jobs by the end of June, she said.

"None were made redundant during that time but they have had a cap on how many they can recruit, so because of that the numbers have not grown."

She said antisocial behaviour on the city's public transport network peaked last August but had remained high, especially "youth crime and intimidation".

"Violence, threats and aggression has been a consistent theme over the past few years," she said.

"It's very worrying."

Meanwhile, AT is also calling for more police on the beat in Auckland.

Auckland central businesses have been vocal in calling for more policing in the area, to address crime such as violence and ram raids. Three new safety hubs are to be opened on Queen Street, High Street and K Road, in addition to one on Queen's Wharf which opened earlier this year.

AT's chief executive Dean Kimpton said he has asked police for a "more visible presence".

"We're putting additional security on, we'll be employing additional transport officers, we're thinking about how to create safe environments," Kimpton said.

"We're deeply committed to getting this right but we need support from the police and others as well."

Kimpton said transport officers had limits and could calm a situation but not intervene. He urged the government, including those newly elected next month, to increase police on the beat in Auckland.

"You need to think about this. One of the real shifts we're seeing on our transport networks, in our streets and communities, is this lift in aggression and there's only so much org[anisations] like AT can do. We need the help of particularly the police ... to help manage what we're seeing."

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