Mo­bile po­lice bases com­ing

Hamilton News - - FRONT PAGE - Tom Row­land

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.

Photo / File

Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Mike Bush.

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