News of the Perry/Chapel Street carpark being used for late-night teenage binge drinking points to the need for a rethink as to how the Masterton CDB is managed at night.
I hate driving along Chapel Street late at night. The footpaths are thick with heavily intoxicated teenagers, who frequently stray onto the road and have a very casual attitude to traffic.
The Police have power to act: Masterton District Council's liquor control by-law bans drinking throughout the CBD and adjoining parks.
I'd like to see one or two mounted police used to patrol the CBD at night. A police officer on a horse has a much more intimate view of what is going on, a horse is highly manoeuvrable, and its size makes it very good for crowd control.
Officers on horses can ride through the parks and other areas where troublemakers gather.
Masterton is ideally placed to use horses for patrols with its proximity to the rural hinterland. I'm sure police who are also experienced riders would jump at the chance to combine their hobby with their work.
- The Council could look at hiring Walkwise "safety ambassadors" who also patrol the CBD at night, acting as eyes and ears for the Police.
- Play Barry Manilow music from speakers in the popular congregating areas.
- Add additional CCTV cameras
- Where possible, involve parents and help them see they are accountable for the actions of their teenagers.
- Attempt to find out who is buying the alcohol for these teenagers, and where.
- With local churches, investigate providing a safe, van-based, mobile drop-in centre and transport home, such as is provided in Wellington.
There need to be some unpalatable consequences for these drunken young people. For example, if you are caught drinking in a public place like the CBD, you are hauled out of bed at 6 am by the Police the following weekend and made to clean up the CBD, including vomit.
The Police and Masterton Council can't solve this on their own: they need community support. Do you have ideas or suggestions which might help?