Auckland businesses calling for downtown police station to crack down on crime

By Finn Blackwell for RNZ 

Auckland's central city business association says a police station downtown is still necessary to crack down on crime.

The calls for an increased police presence in the city surged last year, with the association Heart of the City expected to spend more than $1.3 million on safety in the year ending June.

Chief executive Viv Beck said a downtown police station would send a clear message that crime was unacceptable.

"We believe it will help increase the speed of response, and, particularly important, is that it acts as a deterrent," she said.

"A lot of people talk about the impact of taking that downtown police station away, and we do believe it's an important step that's still needed here to really get to the place we want to be."

The station was closed in 2013.

Beck said having a downtown station was important to keep the city safe.

"We are an international city, increasingly open on a 24/7 cycle, we've got well over a million people here every week and we want it to be a safe place for everyone."

Beck said while there was still a way to go, the situation in the central city has improved.

"There has been a change, and I think there have been some improvements," she said.

"The reality is the police have really stepped up in recent months and they're targeting repeat offenders and being very responsive, so that's been a very positive change."

She said Heart of the City was continuing its work locally to enhance safety in town, including working with council on different initiatives.

"We still want to keep going," she said.

"We do really believe a downtown station is necessary, and we hear that from a lot of other people as well."

The police said public safety in central Auckland remained a priority.

In a statement to RNZ, Auckland Central Area Commander Inspector Grant Tetzlaff, said the public safety team and beat staff continued to deploy from the Auckland City Police Hub and Beat Base, located on Federal Street.

He said their focus remained on deploying to areas where there was higher demand or crime prevention opportunities.

"Police are also continuing to work closely with a range of partner agencies and stakeholder groups that live and operate within the central city," Tetzlaff said.