Crackdown on windscreen washers

ON THE UP: The number of windscreen washers in Auckland is on the up.
ON THE UP: The number of windscreen washers in Auckland is on the up.

Put the window washer down and step away from the vehicle.

That's the message Auckland Council and police have for windscreen washers as increasing numbers of people peddle their suds at Auckland intersections - breaking council bylaws in the process.

And, according to Manukau Business Association spokeswoman Charlotte McCort, it will take the public's help to get the message through.

Manukau City Council's 2008 legacy bylaws ban people from washing car windscreens or vehicles for payment or donation in a public place. Window washers can face a maximum fine of $20,000 under the bylaw.

Senior Sergeant Mike Fulcher said it was a citywide problem.

"It is almost constantly with us. It is an opportunistic way of making money and it is tax-free as well like prostitution," he said.

"There is also the intimidation aspect, if you don't cough up something is going to happen to you. If there are standover tactics we would certainly like to know about those straight away - that is a 111 call."

Using the road for selling or offering goods or services of any kind is forbidden unless the council has issued a permit.

McCort said people shouldn't feel intimidated by the washers and should contact the police if they're displaying dangerous or intimidating behaviour.

"History has told us if we target the people doing the crime we don't get anywhere.

"So we need to educate the people who are pulling up at the lights so they don't pay them and they understand that there is a bylaw."

Fulcher also reminded motorists that they have the option of letting the washers know their services are not required.

"To discourage them what you do is indicate with your hand in a nice way that you don't wish to partake in their services," he said.

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