Newtown Will Not Cop The Closure
12 January 2001
Newtown residents launched a petition today seeking the continued operation of the Newtown-based community police office.
“Community policing works, so why is the Newtown office being closed?” asks local ward Councillor Sue Piper. “Newtown residents have enjoyed a good relationship with successive community constables. We fear that the loss will lead to more crime in the southern part of the city - and we will not cop the closure.”
The petition is being organised by Cr Piper together with Martin Hanley of the Newtown Residents Association, Ron Wood, a member of a local neighbourhood watch group, and Newtown New World owner Gary Baker.
The Wellington Police have advised that the Newtown office will be closed in early March when the lease of the current base expires. They have stated that funding difficulties have led to this decision. This is despite NZ Police findings that community policing reduces crime.
Newtown has the highest burglary rate in the city together with highest population of bailed suspects. Nearly half of Newtown people arrested are aged between 16 and 25.
Newtown residents believe that the closure of the office will threaten crime-fighting initiatives in the suburb. Those initiatives included plans to extend the current office which have been deferred by the Police.
“We are convinced that a community constable operating in Newtown has had a significant and beneficial effect on Newtown’s social fabric” says Martin Hanley. “The planned closure puts all that hard work at risk.”
The Newtown base services the southern part of Wellington city.