24-hour staffing of stations is axed
The Balclutha police station and a rural Southland station won’t be staffed around the clock because the police have adopted a demand-based approach to regional deployment.
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said the decision will lead to more victims.
Superintendent Paul Basham said with the extra investment of 1800 extra police in Budget 2018, the previous population-based target of 95 per cent of New Zealanders that live within 25km of a 24/7 police base was removed, with police instead adopting a demand-based approach to regional deployment to best keep provincial communities safe.
‘‘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.
‘‘NZ police is committed to increasing police numbers, expanding our presence and visibility, and improving policing services to our regional communities. Many of these regional areas are already beginning to see more police in their communities.’’
Police Minister Stuart Nash said the decision was not made by him. He said local commanders are best placed to deploy their resources where demand dictates and where they believe staff will be best utilised.
‘‘I don’t see any advantage to having a uniformed officer sitting at a desk at 3am on a Tuesday morning, I would rather they were out in the community.
‘‘Response times are what matters too – and police are putting a lot of effort into that, with average times of between 7-12 minutes to respond.’’
Nash said the increase in police numbers meant in the southern district, there will be 88 extra frontline officers, an increase of 16 per cent on current staffing levels.