Community volunteers keeping watch over Porirua
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.
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.