More police needed on streets, leaders say

By Alice Lock

3 comments
Local leaders are pointing to the lack of police presence as the cause for the spike in the region's crime rate.
Local leaders are pointing to the lack of police presence as the cause for the spike in the region's crime rate.

Some local leaders are pointing to the lack of police presence as the cause for the spike in the region's crime rate.

The aggravated robbery that took place at Karamu Dairy last Sunday was the 14th burglary since May, as crime rates continued to rise.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the number of robberies was "sickening" and it was time more was done to reduce that sort of crime.

"The Hastings District Council's view is that there consistently needs to be more police resources available," he said.

Mr Yule also said that people needed to report more if they saw any suspicious activity and not be frightened to dial 111.

"Any help we can give our police would be greatly appreciated," he said.

Hastings councillor Adrienne Pierce, who is standing against Mr Yule for the mayoralty in the October local government elections, said the council had stepped up security measures by installing CCTV in the district, establishing the City Assist ambassadors and organising community patrols but the lack of visible police was still at issue.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton could not understand why a tourist town with a population of 60,000 still did not have a 24-hour police station.

"Instead of being in their cars or on their phones there needs to more officers on the street visible to the community," Mr Dalton said.

Labour's police spokesman and MP for Napier Stuart Nash also said earlier this week that there needed to be a higher police presence.

"We are seeing more and more of this crime happening and we just don't have the numbers on the ground."

Tukituki Labour Party candidate Anna Lorck was involved with the Hawke's Bay Community Collective that was set up after the closure of the Clive police station.

"We work at keeping police at the heart of the community, making sure there is a strong connection between the police and residents".

They agreed that there was a lack of police presence but they also wanted citizens to assist in every way they could.

"I think it is important that residents use their eyes and ears and if they see something that does not look right then they should assume that it probably is not".

Mr Dalton said police were not able to be everywhere so the community needed to remain vigilant. "Take down registrations and report people who act suspicious, we need to get the message out there".

National Party Tukituki MP Craig Foss said the Government had already taken measures to increase police presence in the community.

Mr Foss said our police were focused on prevention, particularly when it came to serious or violent crime.

"These remain the areas of biggest risk for our communities and that's why, over the past year, 15 new positions have been created in these areas," Mr Foss said.

He said there had also been an increase in the overall police budget and two new stations were being built in Hastings and Napier.

"Everyone has a responsibility to help keep themselves, their loved ones and their property safe, but they also have a right to feel safe and secure and police make the best operational decisions for their communities".

Hastings mayoral candidate Guy Wellwood was not able to be contacted.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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