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Petone police seeking volunteers for community patrols

Oct 9th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News


VOLUNTEERS WANTED: Anaru Pewhairangi.

LACK of volunteers has stalled the establishment of a Petone community patrol.

Petone needs around 35 volunteers to offer a few hours of their time every four to six weeks to be the eyes and ears for police.

Sergeant Anaru Pewhairangi says police call the volunteers capable guardians.

“They become guardians for their community,” says Sergeant Pewhairangi, who is trying to establish the patrols as an early initiative in his posting at Petone community policing centre.

A decline in crime has been attributed to the patrols elsewhere in New Zealand.

In Napier, for example, the community patrol project was recently recognised at the Community Patrols of New Zealand (CPNZ) conference for reducing the number of car thefts.

CPNZ has been operating since 2000 and currently has around 5000 people nationwide offering their time to help local communities.

Patrols can operate around the clock and volunteers work in groups of two or more to ensure safety and have direct communication with street staff, says Sergeant Pewhairangi.

Patrollers go out in pairs for two to four hour shifts in a council-leased vehicle to survey allocated areas that may have had some recent criminal activity.

They observe and note suspicious and criminal behaviour and report back to local police.

During a shift, volunteers receive information from a co-ordinator at the Lower Hutt Police station about calls received at the 111 communications centre and events happening in the area.

Community patrols have already been established in Eastbourne, Stokes Valley, Wainuiomata, Upper Hutt, Taita and Naenae.

Sergeant Pewhairangi hopes to have a Petone division up and running by Christmas: “The benefits  are such that it would be an invaluable asset here.”

The community patrol group has been approaching local businesses asking for volunteers and financial assistance.

He is hoping about 35 people will volunteer their time to spread the shifts out and share the workload.

Some people have already approached police wanting to offer their time and support, but more numbers are needed to organise a fair roster.

People from all ages are invited to express their interest in becoming a patroller. They will be vetted by police and provided training, support and information for their role.

The patrol will work alongside Maori Warden officers, Walkwise, Neighbourhood Support groups and police to encourage Petone residents to make their community safer by becoming proactive in their community.

Anyone interested in getting involved with community patrol should contact Petone police on 494-8400.

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