Crash puts the brakes on Watch­men


A com­mu­nity’s vi­tal pair of eyes and ears are off the road af­ter an ac­ci­dent wiped out its trans­port.

The Watch­men Com­mu­nity Patrol’s sole patrol ve­hi­cle was writ­ten off in Ma­nurewa town cen­tre late one Mon­day night in July.

An al­leged drunk driver pulled in front of An­gel* while he was out on patrol and hand­ing out blan­kets to the area’s home­less.

Pho­tos showed the BMW had mi­nor dam­age to its front left side, but the patrol’s Mit­subishi fared worse with the front caved in.

Pa­trol­man An­gel* says the car, which is his per­sonal ve­hi­cle, barely made it home. The dam­age was ex­ten­sive and the car has been writ­ten off by the in­sur­ance com­pany.

An­gel* didn’t es­cape un­scathed ei­ther, in­jur­ing his leg in the or­deal.

‘‘I was pretty shaken, in shock re­ally,’’ he says.

Com­mu­nity is in his heart. Be­ing off the road has been dif­fi­cult, he says.

The patrol has op­er­ated from do­na­tions in re­cent years. But with in­creased costs, the Ma­nurewa Local Board gave it six months fund­ing for fuel.

While in­sur­ance should cover a re­place­ment ve­hi­cle, An­gel* is hop­ing for a ve­hi­cle spon­sor to help keep the patrol run­ning.

He is quick to point out the patrol is not af­fil­i­ated with Com­mu­nity Pa­trols New Zealand, which once had a patrol around Ma­nurewa.

‘‘We ques­tion the sit­u­a­tion be­fore jump­ing in,’’ he says. ‘‘We can get out and talk to them, we’re not cops, but we’ll have a chat and see what they’re up to.’’

He says the patrol ‘‘builds a rap­port with the peo­ple’’.

But they don’t just deal with crime. An­gel* says the Watch­men were first on scene to a large shed fire on Popes Rd in March.

‘‘We could see the smoke from Ma­nurewa, we headed straight there.’’

There, he and an­other pa­trol­man di­rected traf­fic be­fore emer­gency ser­vices ar­rived.

In­spec­tor Adam Pyne, of Ma­nurewa po­lice, says a 26-yearold man is cur­rently fac­ing nu­mer­ous charges over the in­ci­dent.

The man is al­leged to have driven with ex­cess breath al­co­hol and also faces a charge of care­less driv­ing.

*An­gel co­de­name. is his Watch­men

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