Car window washers are facing a crack-down by police in south Auckland, who say they've received a barrage of complaints over crime and disorder linked to nuisance window cleaners.
Motorists were frustrated, and the activities of some window washers were dangerous, Counties Manukau police said, as they announced the trial of a new initiative designed to clamp down on the wider issues caused by window washers in the district.
There had been reports to police of wider problems associated with window washers, including disorder, vehicle crime, assaults and wilful damage, the force said in a statement, and it was these activities that would be targeted in the new programme..
"We are well aware of the frustrations faced by many members of the public because of window washers," Senior Sergeant Neil Phillips, manager of youth and community services in Counties Manukau East, said.
"It's dangerous for both the window washers and the motorists, with the activity being carried out on busy roads, especially in the dark and wet winter months."
Police had been closely watching the East Tamaki and Bairds Rd intersection, and would now issue summonses and trespass notices "when appropriate" in a bid to help ease public concern.
"Neighbourhood police teams already allow police to deploy dedicated community staff to the area every day in an effort to move window washers along and deal with any offences that they come across, but these new measures will offer more deterrence and make it difficult for them to carry out their tasks," Mr Phillips said.
"While the initiative is only in its early stages, we are starting to see some good results. If it's successful, it will likely be rolled out in other problem areas."
Police have also carried out a youth workshop aimed at preventing window washing activity in the long term.
"The purpose of the workshop was to bring together a number of agencies to assist the youths in finding alternative employment or education," Mr Phillips said.
"We want to encourage them to find more appropriate and sustainable forms of employment."
Enforcement can only provide part of the solution, he said.
"The workshop was a real success. We spoke with a range of youths, some as young as 14. It was a great opportunity to engage with these young people in a positive way."
An existing Auckland Council bylaw makes window washing unlawful if it is deemed to be unsafe, intimidating, causing nuisance or obstructing traffic. The bylaw is enforced by the council, with police providing a support role.
Max Wilde, manager of bylaws and compliance at Auckland Council, said: "Council continues to take prosecution action where possible against repeat offenders in a bid to encourage alternative employment."
The public was urged to not to encourage the window washers by giving them money, and were instead asked to call 111 if they witness or experience any aggressive or dangerous behaviour from any person at an intersection. Anybody who feels uncomfortable with having window washers approach their car is advised to keep their windows up and doors locked and make it clear that you do not wish to have your window washed.