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Levin Police Constable Fiona Barker wins Australasian award

Media Release: Thursday 13 March

Levin Police Constable Fiona Barker wins Australasian award

Levin Police Constable Fiona Barker has become only the second New Zealander in seven years to win the Neighbourhood Watch Australasia Police Commissioner's Award.

The award recognises a police officer who has volunteered their time through Neighbourhood Watch (or Neighbourhood Support in New Zealand) "to empower people and communities through the development of strong and effective partnerships that promotes quality of life, wellbeing and social inclusion".

Constable Barker was presented with her award by New Zealand Police Commissioner Peter Marshall at a ceremony attended by about 100 people in Horowhenua District Council's Chambers on Thursday.

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy says he has seen first-hand the work that Constable Barker has carried out along with the Neighbourhood Policing Team which was established in 2011, based in Levin's south-east area Taitoko.

"Standout initiatives have included the Project K2 community clean-up which was groundbreaking. People came out in their droves to support this project and the outcome was fantastic - around 20 tonnes of rubbish was removed, lawns mowed, hedges cut, fences fixed. But, most importantly, the residents felt a sense of accomplishment and were proud of their neighbourhood.

"I also had the privilege of being involved in the CACTUS Programmes at Waiopehu College that Fiona took a lead role in organising. Fifty young people have now benefited from CACTUS with fantastic outcomes. The Graffiti Eradication initiative is another example of community collaboration.

"Throughout these projects Fiona has established relationships with many people, from primary to secondary school students, residents young and not-so-young. These relationships are vital in ongoing Police and community work."

Mayor Duffy says that under Constable Barker’s guidance, the Neighbourhood Policing Team, supported by the Horowhenua District Council and Keep Levin Beautiful Group, has made a valuable contribution and a positive difference in the Taitoko area.

Mayor Duffy says Taitoko residents are very fortunate to have Constable Barker assigned to their community.

Neighbourhood Support Horowhenua development co-ordinator Wendy Foreman says that
Constable Barker has broken down the barriers between the police and residents.

"This neighbourhood is safer and there is a community spirit and cohesion due to the sense of pride engendered by her programmes. Members of the public can feel reassured that the police care about this community and keeping people safe."

Ms Foreman says Constable Barker upholds every single Neighbourhood Watch value of leadership, integrity, support, inclusiveness, professionalism and accountability.


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