I need a cold shower. Labour MP Sue Moroney and I agree on something

It’s time to bring back dedicated community cops, say some city leaders. And they are launching a parliamentary petition in hopes of doing so.

Together at the local Waitangi Day celebrations in Nawton on Monday, Labour MP Sue Moroney, Western Community Centre manager Neil Tolan and city councillor and former police officer James Casson jointly launched a petition calling for the reintroduction of community based police officers.

They say suburbs such as Nawton have seen a rise in crime after police closed neighbourhood policing bases in favour of a more centralised mobile police deployment system in 2014.

“You are getting a lot of dairy burglaries, people carrying knives and domestic violence,” Moroney said.

“These problems are going to continue to escalate if we can’t get the community policing units established really quickly – we can’t wait until 2021 to get these positions back in place.”

Hamilton previously had community constables and sectional staff based in stations in the north, east and west of the city.

Now Hamilton had a community policing team but Casson said there were no longer constables who took ownership of one particular community.

“Community constables used to have a pulse on crime, know local criminals, local youth so as soon as something came in they would know who it is,” Casson, who was previously in charge of Hamilton north base, said.

What places like Nawton needed were long-term community officers who built intergenerational trust and really got to know the residents and youth in neighbourhoods, Tolan said.

“They really understood what was happening on the ground because they were immersed in the day to day life of the community.”

“If things were bubbling away they would know about it.”

Being able to pop in and whisper in the ear of a local cop, or see the police car on the street, could make all the difference, Tolan said.

“They don’t have to be sitting in a building all day – but you could pop in and say something’s happening.”

Waikato police district commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said police were open to all discussions over community policing models.

“We are constantly readapting and changing as the need occurs – we invite any debate in terms of the policing model that we operate.”

Having cops sitting on chairs doing sweet Fanny Adams is what caused the reduction and eventual elimination of community police.  But that did disconnect the police from the community a lot more than was ideal.

I’m not sure the increase in resources announced by the Government last week will stretch far enough to allow for the return of community policing.  But the idea of seeing a blue uniform and knowing your local cop’s name has a lot of intrinsic benefit.   The prevention factor alone will pay for the officer’s job.

Right now all burglaries are attended, but those police were pulled off other work.  You have to wonder what’s festering now.  Normally, a National-led government would be expected to be tougher on crime. But under Key and English’s watch, that too has gone to the liberal dogs.

 

– Stuff

 


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