Fewer po­lice in Porirua


Po­lice of­fi­cer numbers in Porirua have fallen to their low­est lev­els in nine years, while bur­glary rates are on the rise.

Par­lia­men­tary ques­tions put to the Min­is­ter of Po­lice, Paula Ben­nett, re­vealed the num­ber of of­fi­cers based in the Kapi­tiMana area dipped from 146 in 2008 to about 100 at the begin­ning of June this year.

A po­lice spokes­woman em­pha­sised of­fi­cers from the wider Welling­ton District - to­talling 776 - are there to help where needed.

How­ever, Labour’s Mana MP, Kris Faafoi, pointed to sta­tis­tics that showed the to­tal num­ber of vic­tim­i­sa­tions in the area rose six per cent from 5477 to 5791 be­tween April 2016 and April 2017, and the amount of bur­glar­ies rose 22 per cent from 1277 to 1563 over the same pe­riod.

He was con­cerned that more pre­ven­tion work could be done if there were more cops based in Porirua, re­sult­ing in ‘‘fewer vic­tims and crimes as we see the likes of bur­glary go up’’.

‘‘Our guys and women do a great job, but I think big pic­ture­wise they are see­ing po­lice re­sources pulled back over time.

‘‘The dan­ger there is the pre­ven­tion [work] doesn’t get done any more.’’

De­spite the drop in staff and an as-yet un­con­firmed re­open­ing date for Porirua po­lice sta­tion dur­ing week­ends, Faafoi did not think it would be fair to say po­lice were slowly aban­don­ing the area.

‘‘It’s great when they turn up, but if we can put more peo­ple on the front-line to do with com­mu­nity work then we would hope to see the [crime sta­tis­tics] drop over time.’’

The Labour MP said the Na­tional govern­ment had ‘‘un­der-re­sourced’’ po­lice, and that if Labour got into power at the Septem­ber elec­tion it would fund an ex­tra 1000 po­lice in its first term, bring­ing ‘‘the po­liceto-pop­u­la­tion ra­tio back be­low 1-to-500, as it was in 2008’’.

Kapiti-Mana area com­man­der Tracey Thomp­son said her area had a to­tal of 102 con­stab­u­lary po­si­tions while the wider Welling­ton District had a to­tal of 776.

‘‘A num­ber of re­port­ing lines have been changed due to a cen­tralised model.

‘‘This means when some staff were pre­vi­ously re­port­ing to the area com­man­der are now district based and op­er­ate across the district to sup­port all ar­eas, in­clud­ing Kapiti-Mana.’’

Po­lice an­nounced in June that dur­ing the next four years, the district would get a to­tal of 62 new con­stab­u­lary staff.

‘‘Po­lice adopt the more street than sta­tion ap­proach, mean­ing more po­lice are out re­spond­ing to in­ci­dents and un­der­tak­ing pre­ven­tion ac­tiv­i­ties in the com­mu­nity.’’

A po­lice spokes­woman said while any in­crease in crime was con­cern­ing, only two per cent of the in­crease in bur­glar­ies ac­tu­ally in­volved crim­i­nals go­ing into dwellings - the vast ma­jor­ity in­volved ar­eas of pri­vate prop­erty such as garages or cars.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi is con­cerned about a drop in the num­ber of po­lice based in the Kapi­tiMana area.

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