15 Jan 2015

More police after Britomart riot

6:16 am on 15 January 2015

Auckland Transport and a former senior policeman are calling for a stronger police presence at the city's Britomart transport hub following a brawl last month.

The fight at the downtown transport centre involved dozens of youths and caused the cancellation of train services.

About 100 people were at the station on 13 December after the Christmas in the Park concert when fighting broke out. After the crowds were dispersed, violence spread to other stations, with smaller fights breaking out at the Newmarket, New Lynn, and Glen Innes stations.

At the Glen Innes station, people threw rocks through the windows of a new electric train causing an estimated $20,000 of damage.

In a report assessing how the fight was handled, Auckland Transport says for future events it would ask for more police at key stations.

Auckland Transport group manager of transport Mark Lambert said discussions were under way with police.

"While things aren't completely agreed yet, we've got a pretty good understanding that there will be police presence at a few offices at Britomart, and for major events moving forward."

Auckland councillor and former police chief George Wood said security at the train station needed to be taken more seriously.

"We're asking people to go down into the bowels of the earth, get onto these trains, you're locked into a compartment with other people, and it's pretty unfair and it's daunting when you get off and there's people that may be threatening getting off at the same station," said Mr Wood.

Mr Wood hoped police had a robust plan ahead of the Cricket World Cup next month and said it was a no-brainer more police were needed at the stations for big events.

"This is on the money definitely, that police have got to be involved in policing the rail system. It happens overseas - I think we're the last bastion holding out where there are no police on our rail system."

Inspector Gary Davey from Auckland City Police said the police would continue to work closely with Auckland Transport to make sure future disorder at Britomart was prevented.

In a statement, Mr Davey said he was happy to review the situation.

"Police presence at key stations for early 2015 events is one that we are happy to consider," he said.

"It will form part of our standard tasking and co-ordination process, where we look at patterns and trends in deciding where to deploy our officers."

Mr Davey said the deployment of staff was a carefully managed process and requests for police presence were assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Passengers disembark at Britomart after the first journey on the city's new electric trains.

Police will consider deploying extra staff at key stations when Auckland hosts big events. Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

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