New polic­ing team hit­ting the beat

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHITTAKER

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.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Say hi: The Pon­sonby com­mu­nity polic­ing team, from left: Ge­off Med­land, Bren­don Muir, James David­son, Fred McGraw and Natalie Lyons.

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