Booze blamed for issues
A community patrol, that was set up to combat the alarming increase of tagging and wilful damage to Matamata’s buildings and gardens, has found that there is another big issue in the area.
The patrol’s co-ordinator/chair Brian Hunter said the biggest issue they had seen on their patrols, that had started in April, was around alcohol.
‘‘Unfortunately liquor is a problem,’’ he said.
Most of the criminal activities the patrol volunteers saw were associated with drinking. If there were multiple issues outside bars or liquor shops they would alert police who would respond.
Hunter praised the enthusiasm and professionalism of the 30 volunteers and stressed that these were not vigilantes, but rather the eyes and ears of the police. He believed the presence of the car, which is fitted with a video camera, could deter criminals.
‘‘I am always keen to hear from anyone else who would like to support this community initiative either through volunteering as a patroller or by way of sponsorship to enable us to continue.’’
He was also grateful that the PRA seeded the project with a $10,000 donation, which enabled the fledgling group to purchase a vehicle.
‘‘We have had tremendous sponsorship support from the business community who clearly see patrols as beneficial and a way of serving the community and supporting the police.’’
Currently, the patrols operate on weekends, However, they could do more is requested by the police.
The initiative for the Matamata patrol, part of the 1300-strong Community Patrol New Zealand (CPNZ) network, came from the Matamata Public Relations Association which called a public meeting in October 2015.
Area and district Police addressed the well-supported meeting as did CPNZ trustee and national projects convenor Teena Cornes of Te Aroha.
Potential patrollers were quick to raise their hands; a committee was formed – this includes a police liaison officer – and the screening/training process began.
Graham Pate, Marcia Pate, Bryan Hunter, Bryce Lennox and one of the local police they liaise with, prevention supervisor Blair Hayde, show off their community patrol car, which they say helps deter criminals.