24/7 police patrol for Balclutha
Balclutha will have 24/7 patrolling police coverage as part of the Government’s $500m Safer Communities package.
It was announced yesterday that the Southern District will receive 37 new police staff in the next four years, as part of a nationwide increase in policing.
Balclutha is expected to have an officer on duty 24/7 by 2018/19.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said further details of the policing package included a target of having 95 per cent of New Zealanders within 25 kilometres of patrolling police, 24 hours a day.
Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan’s reaction to the news that Balclutha would have police staff on duty 24/7 was ‘‘yay’’.
‘‘The talk I hear from police is there’s a sophistication coming through [in criminal activity],’’ he said.
If there was more sophistication ‘‘on the other side of the fence’’, it was great that police resources were being increased to combat that.
‘‘I’m really pleased to see it will make a difference to our district.’’
Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay said he was thrilled with the announcement, particularly for the Balclutha community.
‘‘Balclutha will be one of 20 towns around New Zealand to be resourced to ensure a police officer will be on patrol and on call at all hours of the day,’’ Barclay said.
‘‘Another Southland rural station will also receive resources for round the clock police coverage, but the exact station is yet to be confirmed.
‘‘These existing ‘business hours’ stations moving to a 24/7 response capability, means staff are patrolling/on duty at all hours of the day and night and this will give our communities more confidence that help is on hand.’’
Other southern communities which will now have an officer on duty 24/7 include Wanaka and Alexandra.
Southland District mayor Gary Tong said any increase in policing was a good move.
But Tong warned that more police were needed all over Southland.
‘‘Wherever police aren’t is where the criminals go. They don’t respect police boundaries.’’
He said it would be a ‘‘big call’’ to decide which rural station would get the extra coverage.
The Southern District will receive 37 new police staff during the next four years.