Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Police to close 16 Auckland community cop shops to the public - sources

The Ponsonby Police Station. Photo / Paul Estcourt
The Ponsonby Police Station. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Names of 16 police stations and community police centres that could be closed to the public in Auckland have been leaked, as police announce security needs to be beefed up at 105 of its buildings throughout New Zealand.

Police deny the stations will close, but sources within NZ Police have confirmed plans for the 16 to at least temporarily shut their doors.

It was understood that some of them may never re-open.

Police announced on Friday that 105 stations have been identified as needing increased security following an attack on a volunteer manning a public counter in Counties-Manukau.

Acting Assistant Commissioner District Operations Bruce Bird said tonight that the exact locations will not be revealed for operational reasons.

"A review of existing infrastructure has highlighted a number of premises where more immediate practical steps are needed to increase security."

Some stations may limit public access to times when only sworn police staff were there, and other community kiosks - that are only manned by volunteers - will be closed while an audit is completed.

His comments were at odds with information provided to the Herald by independent sources and also by Labour MP and Auckland Mayoral candidate Phil Goff.

They were able to name ten stations in Auckland city, six in Counties-Manukau and more earmarked for the Waitakere police district.

The stations or community police centres due to shut their doors in Auckland City have been named as Mission Bay, St Heliers, Panmure, Ellerslie, Ponsonby, Balmoral, Waiheke, Onehunga, Newmarket and Mt Wellington.

In Counties-Manukau those affected have been named as Mangere, Beachlands, Howick, Pukekohe, Tuakau and Pokeno.

Mr Goff said police sources had also informed him that the closure decision has been made by the Executive Leadership Board of the New Zealand Police based on the Front Counter Safety Project.
Police Association acting president Craig Ticklepenny said that the association had been working closely with police over safety concerns at front counters and kiosks "for some time".

"Our understanding is that police may be under pressure to reduce their footprint and under pressure to close stations. So while it is good that these safety concerns are being addressed, and that some of them may close in the short term, it's yet to be seen whether they all will re-open or not."

Mr Goff said the decision was cost-cutting masquerading as health and safety measures.

"Police tell me the real motivation behind this decision is to cut costs by recentralising police operations at the expense of community access to policing services."

Mr Bird said that the changes were "absolutely not about cost savings".

"It is about the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors. We note that a police employee was recently subjected to a very violent attack in the front entrance of Counties Manukau recently, so the risks to our staff are very real."

The 16 stations are:

• Mission Bay
• St Heliers
• Panmure
• Ellerslie
• Ponsonby
• Balmoral
• Waiheke
• Onehunga
• Newmarket
• Mt Wellington
• Mangere
• Beachlands
• Howick
• Pukekohe
• Tuakau
• Pokeno
• Plus other stations in Waitakere Police District

- NZ Herald

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