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Rodney District Police Lacks Resources

30 June 2005

Rodney District Police Lacks Resources

Locals are frustrated their 111 calls for help are not receiving prompt response and want the government to intervene.

A Rodney district action group (VOICE Rodney), say the under-resourcing of the district police force is compromising public safety.

Community safety should be an election issue.

Reports have surfaced that on any given night after 10.00 p.m. only ONE police "Incident" car, with at most two frontline police, patrol a region of approx 200sq km and is home to approximately 80,000 people.

VOICE Rodney, says the idea that one patrol car can cover the entire area alone after 10pm is ridiculous.

“It takes time to travel, even at speed, from Orewa to Helensville. If there is an incident at Helensville what happens if there is then an incident on the Mahurangi Peninsula. The current staffing of the district is simply inadequate,” says Arna Mountain of Voice Rodney.

The issue was highlighted in a recent incident in Helensville when an elderly couple waited 45 minutes for a response to a 111 call for help after a drunk stranger circled their house banging on, and trying, doors in the early hours of the morning.

“Locals are concerned that it is only a matter of time before a more serious incident occurs and want the government to deliver on its community safety responsibilities,” says Mrs McKeown

Since a review of police communication centres around the country in May, the government has committed $45.5 million to improve the system over five years. Rodney residents say five years is too long and they need solutions now.

Jennie McKeown says VOICE Rodney is calling on Police Minister, George Hawkins, for an increase in frontline police across the district.

Local residents’ frustrations are echoed by Western Ward Councillor, Greville Walker. Mr Walker has been trying to address policing issues in the district for several years and is now encouraging Council to consider funding a security company to provide back up in Helensville.

"McKeown says it should not be necessary for locals to fund a security company when we already pay taxes to fund the police force."

There is a big gap between community expectations for 111 police response of five to ten minutes at the most - and the reality of what can be provided with the limited number of frontline police on duty in the evenings in Rodney,” says Arna Mountain.

We appreciate the efforts our police make on behalf of Rodney residents, but they do not have the resources they need to do their job properly. The government is responsible to maintain law and order, but they are failing to provide even a basic level of support to our community says Arna Mountain.

ENDS

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