A Christchurch City Council committee is recommending the police be given the power to prosecute the city's windscreen washers.
Police said the number of windscreen washers at busy intersections had increased over the past three years, along with complaints about public disorder and shoplifting in areas where they operate.
They also claim gangs are using standover tactics and taxing them on their earnings.
They are asking the council to give them the authority to arrest people and seize their equipment as part of the Public Places Bylaw.
This prohibits windscreen washing for payment on council-owned roads without the written permission of the council.
Constable Soames Crowther told the committee today that the police needed the extra powers to prevent people getting hurt.
"I have some photos here of the video surveillance where a car was surrounded and they said 'no' and, as he's driven away, they've smashed the back windows," he said.
"There's no comeback to it there. You can't turn around in the middle of a busy intersection."
He said young people were being attracted to windscreen washing by the large returns, with some making $60 an hour.
Today's recommendation from the council committee will be voted on by the full council at the end of the month.