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Team effort for Wainui community patrollers

May 31st, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

WAINUIOMATA’S Community Patrol may have the typical older volunteers, but they don’t expect to have problems like those reported in Waipawa earlier this month.

The Dominion Post newspaper reported a 91-year-old patroller has been told to stop patrolling alone.

Local co-ordinator Barry Renshaw, pictured above, says community patrollers are typically 55-plus and are always in teams.

“We wouldn’t let someone go off by themselves because it’s not safe,” Mr Renshaw says.

Waipawa man John Bray, a former Army special forces veteran, had been patrolling by himself because his partner in his eighties kept falling asleep.

After 10 years at a job that was supposed to be just a temporary three-month placement, Mr Renshaw knows first-hand that certain individuals are drawn to the job.

“Patrollers all share an interest in the security and wellbeing of the towns they live in,” he says.

“You get to be like a little family after a while.”

Some of the smaller towns and villages which are a bit more out of the way for the police have come to depend on the patrols and Wainuiomata’s support for its patrollers is tangible.

Recent fundraising totalled $3000 and several businesses have pledged annual financial support.

Mr Renshaw believes they are responsible for a decline in some of the smaller-scale crimes, such as tagging, in some areas, particularly in Wainuiomata.

He says they have a good working relationship with the New Zealand police force, with the patrols acting like “eyes and ears” for the police.

“It’s a really good working relationship we’ve built up with them.

“We share and corroborate information and evidence with [the police], they direct us to potential crime hotspots, and we send that information back.”

There are 143 patrol groups around New Zealand, with more than 5000 members.

Mr Renshaw says the patrols are a vital part of every community, and they are working to prove this.

“We’ve helped get offenders arrested, we take part in search and rescue operations, just all sorts, really. I think the communities really benefit from our work,” he said.

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