Booze blamed for is­sues

Matamata Chronicle - - Backyard Banter - ABBY BROWN

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.

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

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.

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