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Antisocial Behaviour in the City Centre

News story
Tuesday 25 Jul 2017

We're really concerned about antisocial behaviour that's occurring in the city centre. Worryingly, some of this is being caused by the consumption of synthetic cannabis which has received a lot of media coverage over the last couple of days. Many businesses have also expressed concern about the negative impact of anti-social behaviour through our recent survey on begging. 

This kind of behaviour affects businesses. It also impacts negatively on the perception and experience of the city centre. We are taking action.

- We want more police presence on the street to deal with the immediate issues surrounding synthetic cannabis. If you see someone consuming drugs of any kind, or don't feel safe with respect to any concerning behaviour call 111. 

- We’re going to increase the presence of CityWatch. The CityWatch team is responsible for managing antisocial behaviour through their role in enforcing the Public Nuisance Bylaw. This includes moving people on when they are being an obstruction in public spaces (sitting or lying on the pavement), begging in a way that is causing a public nuisance, or sleeping on private property. To report antisocial behaviour call CityWatch via Council on 09 301 0101.

- Lobby Council to make the Public Nuisance Bylaw easier to enforce. In September Council will be deciding whether to make any changes to the Public Nuisance bylaw.  We want Council to amend the bylaw to change the definitions of the words 'obstruction' and 'anti-social' to make it clearer and improve the ability to enforce it. We are also going to explore other ways that the Bylaw can address begging in the city centre. 

We are bringing together some key people to identify sustainable solutions to tackle begging. It’s our view that no one should have to beg in the streets. It can also bring with it some pretty unacceptable behaviour.  We want to see a permanent change to the current city centre environment. The status quo is not acceptable.

Heart of the City recognises that the reasons for begging are complex and that it's necessary to fix the issues that cause begging. Heart of the City understands this however our focus is to ensure that the city centre is a safe and enjoyable place to be, and that business can thrive. 

We will continue to update members on progress around this important topic and we’ll let you know how you can help. If you want to discuss this in more detail please contact Tania Loveridge here.