A call to increase community police resourcing has been backed by Napier City Council.
At a city services committee meeting yesterday the committee moved to support two remits from Hastings District Council, which would be submitted to this year's Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) annual general meeting.
LGNZ will advocate to government for increased resourcing for community policing, and the establishment of government funding to help preserve publicly owned and earthquake-prone heritage buildings.
Councillor Michelle Pyke said there was a lot of discussion about both issues, but the policing issue was definitely something all of local government was feeling the pressure from.
The remit stated increasing levels of community concern, and police restructuring throughout the country indicated the day-to-day presence of police in communities was shrinking. This raised concern about community safety, and placed increasing pressure on local authorities to supplement police services with ratepayer funded security and safety initiatives.
The remit also said there was acute resourcing pressure on district and area commanders to make decisions which provided less than optimal outcomes for communities in terms of access to police services.
Councillor and former policeman Graeme Taylor said there had been a complete change in how policing worked since he left. "We ... literally don't have a manned police station here in Napier, and if you actually wanted to get a policeman it's a pretty hard thing to do," he said. "I completely support this."
Councillor Maxine Boag said she was very pleased to see the remit, as occasionally there were only two or three patrol cars out in Napier, and if they had to leave the city was less safe.
Councillor Keith Price, a former detective, said having two or three patrols out was a "very good night". "It's reached dire straits really."
He said community policing used to be the only link to speaking with a policeman, but this link had now been removed.
"It's always been said the eyes and ears for the police are the people themselves and that's drifting away, so that really needs fixing."