Po­lice sta­tion hours talk is ‘spin’ says North­land MP

The Northern Advocate - - Local News - — Lindy Laird

The Gov­ern­ment is us­ing “spin” to de­scribe planned re­duced staffing hours at Dar­gav­ille and Wells­ford Po­lice Sta­tions, ac­cord­ing to the MP for North­land, Matt King.

He was com­ment­ing on what he called a “quiet” move to cut in­sta­tion staff hours at seven bases around New Zealand, from 24 hours, seven days a week, to what the Gov­ern­ment calls “24/De­mand”.

King said the de­ci­sion to cut on­site hours at Dar­gav­ille, which is in the Whanga¯rei/Kaipara polic­ing area, and Wells­ford, which is in the Waitem­ata dis­trict, would cre­ate more vic­tims of crime.

The Labour-led Coali­tion had axed the for­mer the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment’s tar­get to have 95 per cent of New Zealan­ders liv­ing within 25km of a 24-hour po­lice sta­tion — “and tried to keep it quiet,” he said.

“The Wells­ford sta­tion will not be 24/7 and the Dar­gav­ille sta­tion will now be called 24/De­mand, which is just spin,” King said.

“It means po­lice will need to guess when the sta­tion should be open 24 hours, but that won’t be all the time.”

A spokes­woman for Minister of Po­lice Stu­art Nash said with the ex­tra in­vest­ment of 1800 more po­lice in Bud­get 2018, the staffing regime and the view of­fi­cers should be sit­ting in empty po­lice sta­tions, which King was re­fer­ring to, had changed.

The pop­u­la­tion and dis­tance ra­tio/tar­get pro­posed just be­fore the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment was ousted had been re­moved, and dis­trict com­man­ders could now use a de­mand-based ap­proach to re­gional staffing dis­tri­bu­tion.

“This re­vised ap­proach means po­lice dis­tricts have more flex­i­bil­ity to de­ploy staff in a way that en­sures of­fi­cers are work­ing when and where they are needed most, based on de­mand as de­ter­mined by the lo­cal dis­trict com­man­der.”

As it is, only three po­lice sta­tions in North­land are staffed 24/7: Kaitaia, Mid-North (Kaikohe) and Whanga¯rei.

North­land Dis­trict Com­man­der Tony Hill was un­avail­able for com­ment yesterday.

Whanga¯rei/Kaipara area com­man­der In­spec­tor Justin Rogers said the Dar­gav­ille sta­tion had not been staffed 24/7 for some years.

Staff were al­ready be­ing ros­tered where and when they were most needed, in keep­ing with ef­fec­tive polic­ing and hav­ing more of­fi­cers vis­i­ble in the com­mu­nity, he said.

Dar­gav­ille Po­lice Sta­tion: Open all hours, or not?

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