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.