Po­lice to stay

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Front Page - KIRSTY LAWRENCE

‘‘Ef­forts have been made to en­sure the re­ten­tion of cur­rent staffing lev­els, to en­sure smaller com­mu­ni­ties main­tain the lev­els of ser­vice re­quired.’’ Sue Sch­wal­ger

Po­lice have de­cided to main­tain 10 po­si­tions in small towns across their cen­tral dis­trict, but say 15 po­si­tions have been ‘‘rein­vested’’.

Cen­tral dis­trict Com­man­der Su­per­in­ten­dent Sue Sch­wal­ger said on Thurs­day in­ter­nal con­sul­ta­tion about the po­lice struc­ture across the dis­trict was com­plete.

‘‘We called it Project Bal­ance be­cause we wanted to re­dis­tribute our re­sources to pro­vide a level of eq­uity across the dis­trict.’’

Sch­wal­ger said fol­low­ing the con­sul­ta­tion, po­lice de­cided to re­tain 10 po­si­tions in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and small towns across. It was orig­i­nally pro­posed th­ese po­si­tions would be moved to other ar­eas.

‘‘This is great news for our smaller ru­ral-based com­mu­ni­ties who we con­tinue to re­main com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing an ex­cel­lent ser­vice to,’’ Sch­wal­ger said.

‘‘We are con­tin­u­ing to in­vest in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and we un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the value lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties place on their po­lice ser­vice.’’

How­ever, the fi­nal de­ci­sion would see 15 po­si­tions ‘‘rein­vested’’.

Sch­wal­ger said there would be no re­dun­dan­cies and the peo­ple af­fected would be given jobs else­where in the new struc­ture.

‘‘In keep­ing with po­lice’s op­er­at­ing model, the new struc­ture re­mains fo­cused on pre­ven­tion.

‘‘This means we are al­ways work­ing to de­ploy our staff as ef­fec­tively as we can to best match de­mand across the dis­trict.’’

She said the pur­pose of Project Bal­ance was to pro­vide an even dis­tri­bu­tion of the re­sources the dis­trict has been al­lo­cated.

‘‘In ar­eas such as Dan­nevirke and Pahiatua, ef­forts have been made to en­sure the re­ten­tion of cur­rent staffing lev­els, to en­sure smaller com­mu­ni­ties main­tain the lev­els of ser­vice re­quired.’’

Sch­wal­ger said no sta­tions would be clos­ing and some of the other changes merely re­flected re­port­ing line changes, which would not ef­fect the public.

She be­lieved the new struc­ture would pro­vide po­lice with flex­i­bil­ity and al­low re­sources to be used to meet de­mand.

Po­lice were com­mit­ted to in­vest­ing in ar­eas with lower staff al­lo­ca­tions, in par­tic­u­lar the Whanganui and Ruapehu ar­eas, she said.

Staff were con­sulted over the past six weeks.

More than 75 sub­mis­sions were re­ceived from staff about the pro­posal, Sch­wal­ger said.

‘‘As a di­rect re­sult of staff feed­back, we have lis­tened care­fully and made a num­ber of changes to the orig­i­nal pro­posal, in­clud­ing the de­ci­sion to re­tain the 10 ru­ral-based po­lice staff spread across com­mu­ni­ties within the dis­trict.’’

She said over­all po­lice num­bers in the dis­trict were un­changed.

The new or­gan­i­sa­tion struc­ture will take ef­fect from July 1, 2017.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Sue Sch­wal­ger says there will be no re­dun­dan­cies.

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