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Public meeting - threat facing Napier police

This is an open invitation for interested media to attend a public meeting on the future of policing in Napier.

THE FACTS:
Napier lost its Hospital now it appears Napier Police Station is under threat of closure and both sworn and non- sworn staff cuts are eminent.

• I have written to the Police Minister [attached] but no answer to date
• Police have been gagged [but an X police officer will be speaking]
• Napier residents are shocked at the proposal
• Napier is a city of 58,000 residents already experiencing some of the highest crime rates in the country
• Napier is a tourist destination and as such a police presence and public safety is essential

--

Attached:

Minister of Police
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

21st August 2014

Dear Minister

I write in my capacity as the Conservative Party candidate for Napier and also as their Law and Order Spokesman.
As our campaign is getting under way I am meeting with many residents [including police officers] and I am very alarmed at what is already happening to policing in our region but deeply concerned at future proposals that I understand your office is contemplating.

For ease of understanding and answering I will list my question in two categories, first being the current situation of policing in Napier, secondly my understanding of what is being contemplated in the future.

Current situation regarding policing in Napier:

1) Lack of morale in the police force:
2) It appears the morale of police in the region [but my focus is on Napier] is extremely low with many senior and experienced officers leaving, some having gone to Australia, but others going to more mundane occupations simply because of a lack of job satisfaction. I understand the exodus is unprecedented. Obviously this has a spiralling effect not only on the morale of policing but also on overall delivery and performance. Please note my comments are in no way intended as a reflection on current management.

3) Amalgamation of the Napier and Hastings police:
It appears the amalgamation of the Napier and Hastings police force is not working. It appears that policing in Napier has suffered as a result of the amalgamation with the Napier police station often closed and Napier based staff spending precious time going across to Hastings to attend to matters whilst Hastings based staff are travelling across to Napier to attend other matters. I understand a large amount of police time is spent traveling to and fro, this might have looked efficient on paper for towns so close but in reality I am assured it is a giant waste of time and resources.

4) Police coverage in Napier
Another serious concern is police coverage in Napier. It appears this is at present totally inadequate and as I have already said the Napier station is often closed. Napier is a tourism town of 58,000 people and we don’t have enough police on duty to maintain a fully functioning police station. I am unaware of any other tourist destination in the World that does not have its own police station. Napier has put a lot of effort into marketing and promoting itself as a tourist destination, the present crime rate in my home town is a disgrace. Recent budget cuts and changes to policing have left Napier particularly vulnerable. Can you please confirm the current and future situation regarding police coverage for Napier?

What are the future proposals for policing in Napier:

1) Demolition of Napier police station:
I understand one of the ideas being contemplated for Napier is the demolition of the Napier police station and an amalgamation of existing emergency services on to one trauma site on or near the Napier Fire Station? Can you confirm this proposal please?

2) Dial a Cop
I am reliably informed and understand that apart from the duty Sergeant Napier would be without police cover for much of the time and the intention is to install a phone on the front wall of the station so that in emergencies people will be able to dial-a-cop similar to the way we used to dial a taxi. Can you confirm this is part of the proposal for policing for Napier in the future?

3) Police dissatisfaction with new proposals:
I understand that other emergency services are also unhappy with the proposal to centralise trauma services as it will result in the undesirables in our communities congregating at the new one-stop-shop. I can see the political answer to this being to transport anyone charged or arrested to Hastings police station to be processed. This of course will result in more inefficiency of valuable police time and resources. I would appreciate your view as to the above please.

4) Political time bomb:
Lastly I understand that some of the more radical changes will not be announced until after the Election as they will obviously be a political time bomb. Can you confirm / deny this please?

Obviously I am very keen to ensure that public safety is of paramount consideration in Napier and would appreciate your earliest answer as to what the facts are in relation to the above.

Yours sincerely


Garth McVicar

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