New policing team hitting the beat
Get to know these faces because you will be seeing a lot of them.
This is the Ponsonby community policing team.
Last year police made a raft of operational changes in the name of the newly launched Prevention First strategy.
As part of the reshuffle the Auckland City Policing District’s Western region has moved away from having individual community constables for suburbs.
In their place are two community teams where no one officer is responsible for a particular location.
One team is based at the Ponsonby police station and the other is at Mt Roskill.
Sergeant Geoff Medland is heading the Ponsonby team of six constables. The suburbs they cover roughly include Ponsonby, Morningside, Pt Chevalier, Westmere, Grey Lynn, Mt Albert and Mt Eden.
Mr Medland says the public will be better off with the new teams.
‘‘Before it could be quite hard to get hold of a community constable,’’ he says.
‘‘The police has had some massive structural changes all geared at getting officers out on to the streets.
‘‘My team is about putting a face on the police and becoming more approachable to the community.’’
The ultimate goal is to help the district achieve its aims which include a reduction in property and alcohol-related crime.
At the moment the team is beating the pavement getting to know business owners and residents.
‘‘It’s not all about walking around and having cups of tea though. It’s about identifying issues and finding solutions,’’ Mr Medland says.
‘‘There have been some
long- standing issues and nuisance crime in Ponsonby that we identified and put strategies in place to stop.
‘‘We have our hotspots that come up. Cars being stolen from the St Lukes car park will be a focus.’’
They are also in the business of trying to find ways of helping people who are repeat victims of crime.
If someone comes to their attention the team will work with other agencies to help put an end to it.
‘‘It’s a new thing we think the public will like,’’ he says. ‘‘It could be a 16-year-old boy who keeps beating up his mum because he has an alcohol problem, or someone who keeps getting their fence tagged.
‘‘Before the police would turn up and arrest someone, they would go to court, and maybe the victim would get Victim Support. We’re trying to put measures in place to stop it.’’
Mr Medland says the response from the public is positive so far.
‘‘One of the reactions I’ve had when I’ve been walking down Ponsonby Rd is ‘it’s good to see a cop on the beat, we haven’t seen one for so long’.
‘‘People have missed it.’’
Say hi: The Ponsonby community policing team, from left: Geoff Medland, Brendon Muir, James Davidson, Fred McGraw and Natalie Lyons.