Police walking the beat keep crims out of CBD

By Brendan Manning

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One-third of all reported crime in Rotorua happens in the CBD, which is why police are patrolling the area more often.

Rotorua area commander Inspector Bruce Horne said a third of all crime reported in Rotorua occurred in the CBD, so that was where residents most wanted to see more officers on the beat.

Police conducted 3835 foot patrols in the Bay of Plenty region last year, nearly double the 1921 patrols in 2011.

"We organise ourselves to police to risk, so we plan our foot patrols to align with the areas that pose the highest risk."

In Rotorua, 22 public place assaults were recorded last December, with a further seven against police, compared with 17 public assaults in December 2011, and six against police.

Last April, a Rotorua woman was sentenced after dragging another woman from a Pukuatua St dairy and punching and kicking her several times in a fit of rage during daylight.

A judge described the actions of Alexandria Gemini Ngarimu, then 18, as a "stupid act of gratuitous violence".

The victim needed medical treatment and suffered bruising and a small wound around an embedded piercing.

Ngarimu was sentenced to 180 hours' community work and nine months' supervision. She told police she had "just got angry and lost her cool".

Mr Horne said young, disorderly people congregating in the CBD were another source of public concern, along with liquor ban breaches and alcohol-related offending.

"We know from experience that a strong visible police presence can have a positive and preventative impact on these issues.

"As Rotorua is a tourist destination, the summer months are a higher risk for us. We respond by reorganising our staff to ensure we have increased visibility in the CBD."

Rotorua police also run a "beat roster". This ensured all staff were freed up from administrative tasks to spend time on the beat at least once a week: "To spend more time out in their communities preventing crime, rather than simply reacting to it".

"Foot patrols are nothing new, we know they are an effective crime prevention tool and we know they reassure communities."

Police Minister Anne Tolley said frontline foot patrols nationwide jumped by 70 per cent last year, rising from 40,918 in 2011 to 69,773 in 2012.

Police were increasing their focus on crime prevention by deploying more officers on the beat to tackle and prevent crime, Mrs Tolley said.

"Staff are being deployed much more strategically, in areas and at times when police know there is a greater risk of crime taking place.

"This smarter approach, with the right people in the right places at the right times, means officers are more visible and better able to prevent crime."

The police presence also sent a clear warning to criminals, Mrs Tolley said.

"In the last two fiscal years we have seen crime rates drop by 5.9 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

"That translates as 47,438 fewer crimes and thousands fewer victims of crime."

Bay of Plenty Police spokeswoman Kim Perks said the increased foot patrols were "very much a part of the ethos" of the "prevention-first" policing model.

Reduced bureaucracy was unshackling frontline staff from their desks to spend more time out in the communities, she said.

"Prevention has always been a function of policing; we are just creating a better framework to help us fulfil that responsibility."


By the numbers


Bay of Plenty police district:



  • 1921 foot patrols in 2011.


  • 3835 foot patrols in 2012. (99.6 per cent increase)

Nationally;



  • 40,918 foot patrols in 2011.


  • 69,773 foot patrols in 2012. (70.5 per cent increase)


- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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