Police warned about Dunedin bus hub safety

School pupils say police failed to take "substantive measures" despite being warned about Dunedin bus hub safety before yesterday's suspected stabbing in which a 16-year-old boy died.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis, of Dunedin, said the boy died in hospital last night.

"A teenage male was taken into custody immediately following the incident and will appear in Dunedin Youth Court," Det Snr Sgt Croudis said.

"This is an incredibly tragic situation for all involved and we are working to support the victim’s family, who are understandably distraught at the sudden and violent loss of their loved one."

Flowers at the scene of the bus hub tragedy this morning. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Flowers at the scene of the bus hub tragedy this morning. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
The Trinity Catholic College pupil was rushed to hospital after emergency services converged on the scene about 3.10pm.

People were heard saying "he's been stabbed" as the victim was being taken away in an ambulance.

The incident occurred about 50m from the Dunedin Central Police Station amid rising concern about violence in the area.

Police officers were visible at the bus hub this morning.

Dunedin Student Council presidents Rohan O'Shea and Alice Johnston said in a statement their hearts went out to the family of the victim after the "incredibly tragic" incident.

"No student should be unsafe on their way to or from school.

"The safety of the Bus Hub has long been an issue we have raised with NZ Police and local government, without substantive measures taken, we need action now."

Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich said it was "an horrific and deeply concerning incident".

"My heart goes out to the victim and their family at this unbelievably distressing event."

 Otago Coastal area commander Inspector Marty Gray has yet to respond to questions by the Otago Daily Times about bus hub safety concerns.

A pupil, who asked not be named, said violence at the bus hub after school was a normal occurrence.

Emergency services attend to the teenager at the Dunedin bus hub yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Emergency services attend to the teenager at the Dunedin bus hub yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
He had recently witnessed a pre-arranged fight at the bus hub.

"It’s not the best place to be. There’s always people threatening each other and fighting each other."

Trinity Catholic College principal Kate Nicholson said the school was thinking of the family.

"I am sure that you join me in keeping their family, whānau and friends in our thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time. We will all be affected by this, but we want you to know that we are here to help you and your children in any way we can.

Trinity Day would be postponed and pupils would meet in their pastoral classes at 8.50am before Mass at 9am, she said.

The incident was the latest in a series of violent incidents at the bus hub, including a teenage boy being punched in the face in an unprovoked attack last week.

The parent of the 15-year-old victim of last week’s assault said he was in no rush to have his son take the bus home.

"We, as his parents, were scared of him getting the bus home, and now that something like this happens, it just reinforces that."

He said it seemed like the area was "completely out of control" despite being "literally right outside the police station".

"We certainly won’t be putting our son on a bus home."

"I imagine other kids and parents are feeling the same way — it seems crazy to think that maybe they need to have constant patrolling of the area."

Yesterday’s incident was reported to emergency services just after 3pm, when scores of school pupils congregated in the area.

Police said inquiries were under way into the matter.

A flood of comments to the ODT Facebook page questioned how the assault could happen so close to the Dunedin Central Police Station.

"I find it ridiculous that this is directly outside a police station, yet it is one of the worst streets in Dunedin," a commenter said.

Photo: Gregor Richardson
Photo: Gregor Richardson
Another said they avoided the bus hub because of safety fears "even though [the] police station is right there".

"How does this happen outside a police station? Why don't the police have control of the bus hub, when it's in their neighbourhood and they know it’s volatile area?" another person commented.

A reader told the ODT she narrowly missed being knocked over by two teenage boys having a fight at 9.20am yesterday.

"I was shocked and frozen at what was happening and then I saw them both tumbling over and knocking down an elderly person with a walking stick."

Otago Regional Council (ORC) transport manager Julian Phillips said one bus stop was temporarily closed following the incident.

"We continue to work with the Dunedin City Council on improving safety at the hub by employing security guards [funded jointly by DCC and ORC].

"Security cameras are also in the area."

ORC chair Gretchen Robertson said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the family, and all those impacted following this tragedy." 

She said Stop B at the bus hub would be closed on Friday.

"We would be grateful if Route 14 passengers can please board at stop A, and Route 37 passengers should use stop C in the interim while this stop is closed." 

Det Snr Sgt Croudis appealed to the public to share any photos or videos they might have of the incident.

"We’re aware that people in the area around the bus hub on Great King St may have photos or video footage of the incident.

"We ask that anyone with such photos or videos, along with anyone who witnessed the incident unfold, contact Dunedin police."

■Police 105, file number 240523/3321