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Powers Needed For Community Patrols

Press Release: Greater Arrest And Detention Powers Needed For Community
New Zealand Security Officers Association
Tuesday 23 September 2008

Security Officers who conduct community crime prevention patrols to fill
shortfalls of police numbers need greater powers of arrest and detention
to effectively do the job, The New Zealand Security Officers Association
said today.

Crime levels in South Auckland have prompted the local council to put
together a proposal for private security guards 24/7. The Manukau City
Council is looking into proposals to deploy three teams of five guards
across the city on a 24 hour, seven day a week basis.

Councillor Dick Quax told the Manakau Courier not only is the region one
of the most under-resourced in terms of police, a survey of locals has
shown a demand for extra security measures. He says the proposal will be
part of the council's long-term council community plan, and will be up for
consultation early next year. He says the council could divert money from
other places, but it is also likely to involve a rates increase.

A Spokesperson for the New Zealand Security Officers Association said
today, “They (the Councils) really need to have a look at other countries
using this concept first.”

In Western Australia, councils employ security guards who patrol the
communities in cars and on foot. They have a number of powers, including
the power to arrest offenders.

In the United Kingdom, the police employ Police Community Support Officers
to patrol streets and deter crime who have limited powers of arrest in
addition to those conferred to private citizens.

In South Africa many towns and communities had council employed security
guards to patrol and deter crime. Some cities in South Africa have now
formed these security guards into a Metro Police service, with full police
powers and equipment.

In an online survey carried out by the New Zealand Security Officers
Association, Ninety–eight percent of respondents believed security
officers should have the power to detain anyone found committing a
criminal offence.

Media Spokesperson Darryn Loveridge said today, “Greater powers of arrest
and detention other than those able to be used by a citizen, would go a
long way in making us more effective when conducting community crime
prevention patrols. In many cases we fall short of clients expectations
because we do not have these powers.”

The New Zealand Security Officers Association has had a number of
complaints from security officers who have felt they have been unable to
effectively do their job. These include:

-One officer who encountered a youth tagging public property in an
industrial estate who was wanted in relation to hundreds of offences,
including some client’s property patrolled by the officer. No action
could be taken, as the officer did not have the power to arrest or detain
the suspect. The suspect was able to depart before Police arrived.

-One officer noticed a youth tagging the street signs. Was able to catch
him but had to let him go as the suspect was not found on client property.
The officer did not have the power to detain the suspect.

-One officer encountered four youths on a client’s property with a
backpack full of laptops. The suspects refused to provide details pursuant
to the Trespass Act 1980.
As the officer had no powers of arrest or detention, the suspects were
able to depart before the Police arrived. It was later discovered that the
school next door had been burgled and laptops had been taken.

-One security officer was conducting a patrol when he found a suspect
putting a car stereo in a pack. Several more car stereos were discovered
in the pack. When the officer challenged him he abused the officer, left
the pack and ran. The stereos, it was discovered, were stolen from cars in
the area. The officer could only watch the suspect run off, as he had no
power to arrest or detain the suspect.

-One officer was conducting vehicle patrol when he heard an alarm start
sounding. The officer pulled into the property where the alarm was
sounding and found an individual holding a petrol can. The officer
challenged him and was verbally abused by the suspect, who then got into a
vehicle and drove off. The premises had been broken into and petrol poured

-One officer found a trespasser with a motorbike. The suspect dumped the
bike and denied knowing anything about it. He refused to identify himself
but the officer had no legal power to stop him from leaving. The bike had
been stolen.


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