Councils, cops to work on bus hub safety

Police patrol through the bus hub in Great King St. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Police patrol through the bus hub in Great King St. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Improving safety at Dunedin's bus hub in the wake of last week's fatal stabbing is the aim of a council-led move announced today.

Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich said a new multi-agency working group would be dedicated to changing the culture of behaviour at the central city hub.

The move comes after Trinity Catholic College pupil Enere McLaren-Taana, 16, died following an attack there on Thursday afternoon.

A 13-year-old boy who is accused of his murder has been remanded in custody after appearing in the Youth Court on Friday, and is scheduled to appear in the High Court on June 11.

In a statement today, Mr Radich said he and representatives from the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council and police met this morning and agreed to establish the new group.

“While our focus as a city needs to remain on supporting Enere’s whānau as they prepare to farewell their loved one, we also need to do what we can to ensure this sort of tragedy isn’t repeated,” Mr Radich said.

He said the terms of reference were being drafted and would seek to ensure schools, bus users, and the wider community were all represented.

The group would aim to develop short-, medium- and long-term options that can be implemented to improve the culture at the bus bub, and it would meet regularly.

“This is an important step focused on changing behaviour at the bus hub, to ensure it is a safe space for everyone to use.

“Last week’s terrible tragedy has sent shockwaves through our community, and we all need to come together to address the issues.”

Otago Regional Council Chair Gretchen Robertson said public safety at the hub was a priority for all parties.

“This new group is exactly what we need to be doing – working together to tackle the safety issues there.

“We will be working with the DCC, Police and other parties to review the steps already taken, and any new initiatives that could help, over the coming days and weeks. 

“It will also be important to look at how we can involve young people, school communities, and the wider community to help change behaviour at the hub.”

She said that in the meantime there would be an increased security presence at the bus hub alongside a beefed-up police presence, and Bus stop B would remain closed until further notice as a mark of respect.

“We acknowledge the outpouring of love and sympathy for the family and friends of the young person who tragically died and realise that an incident of this magnitude impacts public confidence. We are aware of issues at the hub and are working hard to support people with added security and presence.”

Police Otago Coastal Area Commander Inspector Marty Gray said police wanted to work with all parties to improve safety.

“We’re looking forward to having an active role in the group and helping ensure everyone can use the bus hub with confidence.”