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Christchurch poised to be designated an International Safe Community

5 September 2008

Christchurch will next month be designated an International Safe Community based on criteria developed by the World Health Organisation.

This follows a recent successful site visit by delegates from the Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand in its capacity as a Certifying Centre for the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre on Community Safety.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says this is a significant achievement for the city and one which recognises the hard work and commitment by 21 agencies and the community as a whole to work together to create a safer city.

“Three years ago Christchurch launched the Safer Christchurch Strategy, the city’s first community safety strategy, aimed at making Christchurch the safest city in New Zealand.

“Focussed on injury prevention, road safety and crime prevention, the city-wide Strategy has guided Christchurch as it has worked towards accreditation as a World Health Organisation Safe Community.”

Mr Parker, as Chair of the Safer Christchurch Interagency Group which oversees the Safer Christchurch Strategy, says he is proud of the city’s achievements under the Strategy.

“The Group has made incredible progress in all three key areas – road fatalities and crashes are trending down, inner city crime and violence is being kept at the lowest growth rate for a metropolitan city in New Zealand, and while some injury rates are rising, this is a positive result of a campaign to promote better reporting by ethnic groups.

“What is most rewarding has been the commitment and genuine desire by everyone involved to work collaboratively to form partnerships which target injury prevention and community safety, and the whole of community responsibility for creating a safe city.”

Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand Director Dr Carolyn Coggan says a Safe Community title does not mean a community is “perfectly safe”.

“What it does mean is that the community has systems and processes in place to address safety, and all sectors of the community are working together to increase the overall safety of its residents and visitors.”

Dr Coggan says Christchurch has shown over many years that it has developed sustainable programmes – both local initiatives and those which build on key national organisational strategies – to promote safety in response to the needs of the local community.

Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff says Christchurch’s accreditation as a Safe Community is the result of strong relationships between key agencies and a commitment from everyone to create a better and safer community.

“I applaud everyone who has played a role in helping Christchurch to achieve this prestigious world status. Through our shared goal to make Christchurch a safer place to live, work and play, we have engaged in joint planning, implementation of strategies, information sharing and joint decision-making. It is this collaborative leadership on safety that has been critical to our success.”

Canterbury District Health Board’s General Manager of Community and Public Health Evon Currie says the Board is committed to protecting and improving the health and well-being of its community and it was important there is a collective commitment and shared responsibility for safety in the city.

“Communities which are safe give people a sense of belonging and of being valued; as a result these are likely to be healthier places than those where people feel unsafe and excluded.

“I congratulate everyone on achieving World Health Organisation accreditation – it is notable achievement.”

ACC Injury Prevention Consultant Cory Stewart says ACC congratulates the Christchurch agencies that have come together to work in partnership to support the achievement of this international recognition.

“ACC is proud to be part of the strategic body of stakeholders who work hard to ensure Christchurch is a safer place to work, live and play.”

Christchurch is only the 9th, and the largest New Zealand area, to be accredited as a Safe Community. The only other Safe Community in the South Island is neighbouring Waimakariri District.

·         Christchurchwill be designated a Safe Community in October when the city hosts the 17th International safe Communities Conference. The ceremony will be officiated by Chair of WHO Collaborating Centre on Community Safety Promotion Dr Leif Svanstrom and Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand Director Dr Carolyn Coggan.


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