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Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

‘‘It's good for the city, good for the com­mu­nity and good for the po­lice.’’

Up­per Hutt’s po­lice sta­tion has re­opened its doors to the public on week­ends af­ter more than 15 months of re­duced ser­vice and in­creas­ing com­mu­nity con­cern.

The Fer­gus­son Dr sta­tion is again open from 8am to 4pm on Satur­days and Sun­days, while its Mon­day to Fri­day hours have been con­firmed at 8am to 7pm, an ex­ten­sion of three af­ter­noon hours.

Up­per Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy said the news ‘‘is a mass- ive boost for the city’’.

‘‘I got a phone call from the Hutt Val­ley area com­man­der Sean Hansen say­ing it was hap­pen­ing.

‘‘I said a big thank you and told him Up­per Hutt will be very happy.

‘‘It’s good for the city, good for the com­mu­nity and good for the po­lice,’’ Guppy said.

‘‘These hours will mean an im­proved con­nec­tion for the com­mu­nity here with the po­lice, know­ing they can go along, seven days a week again and have that face-to-face con­tact.’’

‘‘I know other parts of the re­gion haven’t got this hap­pen­ing so we are grate­ful.’’

In a 2016 re­view, 121 po­lice sites na­tion­wide were iden­ti­fied as need­ing safety im­prove­ments.

Three months ago the Up­per Hutt week­end polic­ing sit­u­a­tion looked bleak.

With no date set for a re­open­ing and a com­ple­tion of se­cu­rity up­grade work cited as the rea­son for the clo­sure peo­ple were ques­tion­ing if the re­duced hours were part of a move to close the sta­tion by stealth

At that time Guppy said the orig­i­nal clo­sure time had been es­ti­mated to be nine weeks and, more than a year later, ex­cuses from po­lice were ‘‘wear­ing thin.’’

Hansen said he un­der­stood the con­cerns about the re­duced hours and the week­end clo­sure, ‘‘but it was al­ways our in­ten­tion to re­open it’’.

‘‘It was al­ways a tough de­ci­sion to re­duce the hours,’’ he said.

‘‘It was part of a risk as­sess­ment car­ried out na­tion­ally and it took longer then ex­pected.

‘‘We had to take the re­sponse we did on the [staff]safety con­cerns but now we are we back to what had be­fore,’’ Hansen said.

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