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No Word On Police Volunteers From The PM

Following two incidents where rural police were caught short in the weekend, Prime Minister Helen Clark said she didn’t know if there was any progress on introducing voluntary policing, which Police Minister George Hawkins said Labour hoped to pilot during last year’s election campaign.

Last year Mr Hawkins said Labour wanted to look into introducing ‘Rural Volunteer Auxiliaries’ - trained and vetted civilian volunteers who would accompany lone police officers. He said the death of Mangakino Constable Murray Stretch, while patrolling alone, had “spurred our determination to move ahead on this issue.”

On Friday night Twizel Constable Shane Lacy received serious head injuries during an attack while he was patrolling the Mackenzie Country township alone.

Meanwhile, on early Sunday morning Hawera police had to call up off duty officers and call for reinforcements from New Plymouth, who took an hour to arrive, while a brawl involving nearly 100 people went on uncontrolled.

Paramedics couldn’t get to one man who needed urgent attention and police admitted they were powerless to control the brawl.

Miss Clark said she imagined that police in Hawera are staffed for their normal run of work. She said the brawl was “out of the ordinary,” and “just couldn’t be anticipated.”

Miss Clark said the attack on constable Lacy was a reminder that policing is dangerous work, in both small towns and cities.

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