Safe Cities are designated by the International Safe Community Foundation New Zealand, on behalf of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which created the initiative after it recognised that safety is a universal concern and a responsibility for all.
Planning for the application began ahead of the 2009 Long Term Council Community Plan, and was adopted by Council through the Safe City Strategy in 2012 as an action for Palmerston North City to undertake.
To be accredited, International Safe Community Foundation officials assess a variety of programmes that are aimed at improving safety, including: road safety; emergency preparedness; family/whanau; youth; elderly; crime prevention and reduction; workplace safety; drug and alcohol harm reduction; suicide prevention, and sport and leisure.
Mayor Jono Naylor says various organisations in the city have a long and proud history of working collaboratively to improve safety for residents and visitors alike.
"Accreditation is recognition of the efforts of a large number of people working diligently over many years for a variety of organisations focused on improving safety in the city. The application process enabled us to identify our strengths and helped us realise how much we have to be proud of."
Mayor Naylor says the accreditation will also help make Palmerston North a safer place to live, work and play as the city will be able to access new funding for projects to develop infrastructure and injury prevention projects.
"We will join an international family of Safe Cities and be able to access information about successful projects in similar sized cities and apply them here in Palmerston North," he said.
The application was supported by the Palmerston North Safety Advisory Board(SAB) - an interagency partnership, formed to provide information and guidance to the Palmerston North City Council on all matters pertaining to safety and crime within Palmerston North.
SAB chairman, and Police Area Commander, Inspector Pat Hancock, says the SAB is made up of key agencies that share ideas, resources and efforts to make Palmerston North a safer city in which to live and work.
"We have received this accreditation on the back of the hard work from members of the public. It is a tribute to them and the organisations they work or volunteer for."
Inspector Handcock says that while this evening will be a time to reflect and celebrate all that has been achieved, accreditation has nurtured the focus on areas where further support is needed, such as youth suicide, programmes for children and programmes that educate young women about safety while out on the town.
"It also marks a new focus for the SAB. Previously, the Board has provided information and guidance to the Palmerston North City Council on issues regarding safety and crime. Accreditation will extend the SABs role to include governance and implementation of a Safe City Plan, which will be published next month."
You can find out more about the initiatives by requesting a copy of the Safe City application and by visiting http://www.safecommunities.org.nz/sc/ which details efforts by other cities that are members of the Safe City community.