Mobile police bases coming
Hamilton is expected to get mobile police bases within a year as police respond to concerns raised about crime in the community.
Community police stations in Hamilton began closing in 2008, with Waikato Police operating out of a centralised station in the city’s CBD.
Commissioner of Police Mike Bush said in a letter to a Hamilton neighbourhood support group last week, the strategy was to attack the root cause and not to always be dealing with symptoms.
The commissioner wrote to the West Hamilton Action Group, set up in 2017, in response to the group’s request to bring back community policing because of local robberies.
The old community policing model involved community constables operating out of one of Hamilton’s community police stations. Hamilton has several inactive community police stations in Flagstaff, Hillcrest and Hamilton West.
In his letter, the commissioner said that while police are currently not using the stations, they are still active in the suburbs.
“A large number of police functions can now be carried out in a police car, or indeed at any place we happen to be,” he said.
“The complexities of policing mean we need to be in all communities 24/7.
“Police work with numerous agencies to develop solutions to problems within communities. These problems can range from minor to serious as evidenced by the dairy
robberies that plague much of New Zealand. Our intel holdings scan the environment for problems that are then passed to the prevention teams to identify possible solutions, this is the essence of community policing.”
Police are looking to make further changes to the community policing model, by introducing mobile police bases.
“The mobile base will be in a particular area at a particular time. This will enhance and support the work of other groups.”
Mr Bush said he was satisfied with how Waikato Police have balanced their priorities, a move also supported by Hamilton City Councillor James Casson.
“Minster of Police Stuart Nash has promised that community policing would be up and running by the end of their term,” Mr Casson said.
“It might not be the model that the police was running previously, but this is a step in the right direction.”
Mr Casson held a crime awareness meeting in the north east of Hamilton in March this year, and is hosting another one at the Western Community Centre in Nawton.
“The police have agreed to turn up this time, and it is before Christmas where a few crimes pop up so there will be some crime prevention advice during the meeting.”
Police stayed away from the first meeting as it was held during general election campaigning.
Mr Casson said the response from the first meeting was positive, and that there has been an increase of patrol cars in the north east, while members of the community have also stepped up.
“The police heard then what the concerns of the community were.”
“The neighbourhood support groups in the area increased dramatically since the last meeting, there were quite a few people who put their name forward to become community patrollers as well which was excellent.”
The west Hamilton crime meeting will be held on at Monday December 3 at 7pm.
Commissioner of Police Mike Bush.