Com­mu­nity vol­un­teers keep­ing watch over Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

John Bathurst and Cathy Ma­her were part of Porirua Com­mu­nity Guardians for years and had their share of ex­cite­ment.

They will never for­get when the guardians saw 15 young peo­ple gather in the city cen­tre and two girls start fight­ing.

No­ti­fy­ing the po­lice im­me­di­ately, the guardians made sure sev­eral of­fi­cers went over and calmed the sit­u­a­tion be­fore it got too se­ri­ous.

Though the guardians have folded, the guardians who mon­i­tored the CCTV cam­eras will con­tinue their work.

‘‘It’s our com­mu­nity. You have to look af­ter what you love so that it’s there for the fu­ture," Ma­her said.

They are two of about 10 vol­un­teers who helped mon­i­tor the city’s CCTV net­work.

‘‘I en­joy help­ing. It’s a way of giv­ing back to your com­mu­nity.

‘‘It’s about hav­ing a heart for your com­mu­nity and do­ing what you can,’’ Bathurst said.

The Porirua closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion cam­eras were in­stalled in 1996 and up­graded be­tween 2011 and 2014 as part of a joint ini­tia­tive be­tween po­lice, Porirua City Coun­cil and the Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The cam­eras have im­proved se­cu­rity, with vol­un­teers alert­ing po­lice as soon as, if not be­fore, an in­ci­dent hap­pens.

Vol­un­teers mon­i­tor

the cam­eras from the Porirua Po­lice Sta­tion and re­ceive full train­ing be­fore get­ting started.

‘‘There’s a sense of sat­is­fac­tion about do­ing this. Even though we’re not seen, we’re an­other set of eyes and help pre­vent crime,’’ Ma­her said.

Ma­her has been in­volved for about eight months, and Bathurst was one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the team.

They are both re­tired. Ma­her pre­vi­ously has worked as a prison of­fi­cer and a par­lia­ment se­cu­rity guard.

Bathurst has been in­volved with the New Zealand Fire Ser­vice and spent time as an am­bu­lance driver.

‘‘I’ve been vol­un­teer­ing all my life,’’ Bathurst said.

Ma­her said though the team mon­i­tor­ing the cam­eras had things cov­ered, more vol­un­teers were al­ways needed.

She said this year was about get­ting more peo­ple on board.

‘‘It’s a great idea, the com­mu­nity needed it, we’re go­ing to con­tinue do­ing what we do . . . help­ing pre­vent crime.’’

Cathy Ma­her, left, and John Bathurst work­ing hard at the Porirua Po­lice Sta­tion.

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