Clamps go on bandits

Squeegee Bandit hard at work
Squeegee Bandit hard at work

A bylaw will not be necessary to keep New Plymouth's notorious squeegee bandits under control.

Instead police will take a harder approach with the dangerous antics of the clan of cleaners.

Yesterday the New Plymouth District Council policy committee voted to not make a bylaw to stop the window washers.

The issue will now go before a full council later this month.

The council will continue to recommend that people do not pay the window washers and councillor Grant Coward, former head of New Plymouth's CIB, said the police would now take a zero tolerance policy with the group.

The council had worked closely with the police to come to a resolution, Mr Coward said.

While police had originally suggested a bylaw to the council after an influx of complaints about the window washers, they now agreed a bylaw was not needed, he said.

Legal advice about the issue had been sought, and it had become clear there were already adequate law and regulations in place that prevented window washers.

If the window washers continued to act as they have in the past then they would be held accountable under the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 and the Summary Offences Act 1981.

For loitering on crossings the window washers could face an infringement fine of $35, and for offensive behaviour or obstructing public way they could be liable for a fine of up to $1000.

If a bylaw had been made, any offenders would have been liable for a fine of up to $20,000, but the council would be required to take someone to court to enforce the bylaw.

A bylaw has been introduced in Auckland by the Auckland Council, however the intimidation that has been experienced when council officers have approached the window washers has meant police have had to be called anyway.

Mr Coward said he was confident the police and the council could work together to fix the issue.

Advertising would be done so the public would be aware of the correct avenues to go through to report all window washer activity, he said.

Councillor Murray Chong, who filmed an assault of a motorist by a window washer in January said the outcome was a good one.

He said police had recommended to the council that people take photos of the offenders to help identify them.

"Just be aware of what can happen when you do that," he said, in clear reference to the January brawl.

Taranaki Daily News