Boost for the beat

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Front Page - ALISTER BROWNE

Tai­hape po­lice num­bers are on the rise.

With Richard Wilson, a con­sta­ble from south Auck­land, start­ing this week, Tai­hape is back up to its ‘‘es­tab­lish­ment’’ fig­ure of seven po­lice staff in the Ran­gitı¯kei town.

But on the down­side, at Waiouru, which comes un­der Tai­hape’s polic­ing um­brella, they’re down to one po­lice of­fi­cer and still seek­ing a sec­ond to be at full strength.

Also from Coun­ties-Manukau and now at Tai­hape is De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Fuipua Mariner, a 38-year-old Samoan who be­gan as a gen­eral du­ties con­sta­ble in Tai­hape on Novem­ber 24.

Coun­ties-Manukau is the coun­try’s hottest crime spot mak­ing the Tai­hape life­style and size a dras­tic con­trast.

Ru­ral towns like Tai­hape were at the cen­tre of the po­lice num­bers po­lit­i­cal ar­gu­ment that raged dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, es­pe­cially af­ter New Zealand First vowed to do bet­ter for the re­gions if it gained power, which it now has.

For­mer prime min­is­ter Bill English, in his first state of the na­tion speech as the coun­try’s leader ear­lier this year an­nounced pro­vi­sion of 880 more sworn po­lice and ex­tra non-sworn staff over four years to tar­get provin­cial and ru­ral New Zealand.

Po­lice min­is­ter at the time Paula Ben­nett said the idea was to have for 95 per cent of peo­ple liv­ing within 25 kilo­me­tres of a 24/7 po­lice pres­ence by 2022.

For the cen­tral po­lice dis­trict that means up­grades to 24/7 sta­tus at Mar­ton and Tau­marunui, among others, but noth­ing any­where near 25km from Tai­hape.

Which seems to put Tai­hape peo­ple in the 5 per cent of peo­ple who will miss out in the process for their sta­tion isn’t open around the clock even if some­one is on call out of hours.

Cen­tral dis­trict po­lice boss Sue Sch­wal­ger lauded Na­tional’s prom­ises as ‘‘great news for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties’’.

A ru­ral du­ties of­fi­cer net­work was also set to be formed to en­sure po­lice would fo­cus on ru­ral is­sues, she said.

But Labour won power and in a deal with NZ First said there would be a hike of 1800 more front­line po­lice over three years a huge in­crease over what Na­tional had spo­ken of. There’s a plan com­ing in the new year. New po­lice min­is­ter Stu­art Nash was adamant: the money is there, it’s part of the coali­tion agree­ment.


Tai­hape’s po­lice force is back up to a full com­ple­ment.

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