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Civic leaders reinforce commitment to zero tolerance for violence

29 February 2008

Mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker and Police have today (29 February) reinforced their commitment to zero tolerance for violence in the inner city.

The meeting provided a forum for civic leaders to discuss the success of existing initiatives to address crime and violence, develop new initiatives to target the city’s hot spots and look at new ways of working together.

Mr Parker said as the Council-initiated Central City Business District Alcohol Accord had already shown, there was a strong working relationship not only between the Council and Police, but also Canterbury District Health Board, Hospitality Association of New Zealand and licensees to address inner city safety.

"Christchurch has to be proud of this collaborative multi-agency approach. It is the reason the city was able to launch New Zealand’s first Alcohol Accord. This has been such a success and other cities are now looking to adopt a one-way door policy, the first initiative under the Accord.

"Inner city licensees have not only made an on-going commitment to the one-way door policy but have developed a two-year work plan to build on its success to further reduce alcohol-related inner city crime and violence."

Mr Parker and Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff also endorsed Christchurch’s bid to become a World Health Organisation Safe Community, accreditation for which will be sought later this year when Christchurch hosts the 17th International Safe Communities Conference.

"In the last two years, Christchurch City has through its partnerships with agencies, licensees and the community implemented a large number of initiatives to improve safety in the city. These initiatives will take time to deliver results and it is important to understand there is not just one solution to this problem."

While an analysis of crime statistics as a proportion of population at the end of last year showed Christchurch had the country’s highest rates for violent crime, this was simply a snapshot in time, Mr Parker said.

"Our joint initiatives are beginning to show results; during the first six-months of the Alcohol Accord serious offences fell by as much as 21%. This is a great result."

Under the Safer Christchurch Safety, the Council’s aim is to make Christchurch the safest city in New Zealand. "I believe we are on track to achieve this and are confident through a collaborative effort Christchurch will continual to see a decline in inner city violence."

Superintendent Dave Cliff today said during the Christmas-New Year period, traditionally a time when violence rates can soar, there were only 20 incidents of violence in the inner city

"These incidents were at a lower threshold being common assault, male assaulting female and assault on Police. This is a positive sign the Alcohol Accord is operating successfully."

He said the Police would soon be introducing a raft of new initiatives to target inner city hot spots and welcomed today’s meeting with Council to develop a joint approach through effective decision-making, such as new policies and bylaws to enhance Police initiatives and environmental design to prevent crime.

"Initiatives to improve safety have begun to make an impact in the city and I am pleased there is an acceptance for the need of a holistic community approach to dealing with inner city violence and improve safety."

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