Stations to stay, says top cop

By Peter de Graaf

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Far North police are dismissing rumours that stations in Paihia and Kawakawa are about to close - but say roster changes will mean short-term changes to staffing levels at some stations.

Responding to questions from the Advocate, Northland Police District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said there were no plans to close any police stations at this time. Nor were there plans to permanently remove staff from any stations.

However, in the short term - while a new police roster was being developed - some staff would be moved around to "backfill" the roster and ensure adequate coverage across the Bay of Islands.

It is thought that could mean taking some staff out of stations such as Paihia and Kawakawa to help cover gaps elsewhere.

Mr Le Prou said the details of any staffing changes were an operational matter for the local police hierarchy to deal with through consultation with staff and ultimately the community.

"By deploying to beat demand and being out in the community at all times we can actively target our known offenders, meet the needs of our victims and work hard at preventing crime in known hotspots," he said.

The new roster was part of changes in policing at a national level. They included the introduction of a centralised Crime Reporting Line to take care of non-urgent complaints and a new File Management Centre designed to cut the amount of paperwork police had to fill in.

Mr Le Prou said issuing iPads and iPhones to frontline police meant they were better able to respond to developing events and less tied to "bricks and mortar" stations.

As the new initiatives became embedded police were reconsidering the way they went about their work. Staff in nearby stations needed to support each other as needed.

"Crime doesn't have patches or finite boundaries and offenders are mobile," he said.

A drop in staff numbers at the Kawakawa station earlier this year sparked headlines and public concern. That was caused by staff sickness coinciding with the search for a new sergeant following the departure of Nathan Davis. However, two of the originally six constables were also transferred to Kerikeri.

- Northern Advocate

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