Northland Police have a new community constable working in the Moerewa and Kawakawa areas as part of a new staff structure to invest more into preventing crime in the Far North.
The new structure has merged the sub areas of the Bay of Islands and Kaikohe into one sub area which has three new combined Public Safety Teams (PST) of frontline staff working out of Kerikeri and Kaikohe.
Police say this will enable sufficient staff to respond to incidents across the whole Mid North, particularly in emergencies. Under this structure police can also put as much resource as possible into prevention to reduce the demand on calls for service.
The Moerewa/Kawakawa community constable is a member of the Far North Area Prevention Team based out of Kawakawa. A new sergeant leads this team and another sergeant's position has been created to lead the Neighbourhood Policing Team based in Kaitaia.
Along with sergeants heading the new PST of seven constables each there are two new station sergeants, one based at Kerikeri and the other at Kaikohe. These sergeants are responsible for all Mid North stations, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Paihia, Kaeo, Rawene, Russell, and Kawakawa.
Staff remain unchanged in the smaller Mid North stations of Russell, Paihia, and Rawene and the rest of the Far North.
Three senior sergeants now oversee frontline staff in the Far North. These include an Area Response Manager Mid North (new position) who is responsible for the sergeants and PST staff and smaller stations staff in the Mid North; an Area Prevention Manager who is responsible for the Far North Area Prevention Team and the Kaitaia Neighbourhood Policing Team, and an Area Response Manager for Kaitaia.
Far North Area Commander Inspector Wendy Robilliard said police began looking in May last year at ways of enhancing the service it delivered to the communities of the Far North, particularly in the Bay of Islands.
"We wanted to ensure we had sufficient staff to respond to emergency situations while placing as much resource as possible into prevention activities," she said.
There are 98 sworn police staff covering the Far North district, including those in the new structure for the Mid North.
Ms Robilliard said all staff - including PST, CIB, Road Policing, Youth Services, Area Prevention Teams and Neighbourhood Policing Teams - were available to be deployed across the whole district as needed.
As all staff were a district resource they could be deployed from anywhere at any time.
The District Command Centre could also see who was on duty at any given time and where they were located so it was able, at short notice, to deploy staff to incidents.
"Along with the new structure for the Mid North this will enable an enhanced service to our communities in both response and prevention," Ms Robilliard said.
Since Prevention First was implemented nationally in 2011 police had been placing more effort into preventing offenders and victimisation by identifying ways to address situations before we have calls for service.
"This is a fundamental philosophy behind Prevention First. 'Prevention at the front of everything we do and victims are at the heart of everything we do,'" Ms Robilliard said.
The new structure meant police would have staff in the right places to beat demand and would enable police to invest more into preventing crime and road crashes.
"The structure also releases senior sergeants and sergeants from administrative duties to enable more visible leadership of staff who will be out and about on the streets."
Ms Robilliard said staff numbers the new positions created in the Far North under the new structure would enhance service delivery to residents, businesses and visitors due to more police officers being freed from administrative tasks to allow them more time on the street.
"We have listened to the concerns of our communities and have devised a structure that will mean our staff will be spread across the area to meet the needs of these communities."
Ms Robilliard has met with community organisations and partner agencies to present the new structure.