Police operation to focus on crime prevention

Finding long-term, sustainable solutions to crime, road trauma and anti-social behaviour is the aim of a police operation across the Bay of Plenty this week.

Operation Presence kicks off on Friday and will see the first of a series of activities in which staff from the four policing areas will carry out co-ordinated visibility and community reassurance.

It is a 'whole of police' approach which has run successfully within the Western Bay of Plenty during the past six months and is now being extended to incorporate the wider district.

Prevention manager Inspector Scott Fraser said responding to crime and crashes and carrying out investigations would always be a critical element of police work.

"But we have to ensure that prevention is at the forefront. If we are going to continue to reduce offending and victimisation we have to take the time to tackle the root causes."

He said tackling the causes of crime was not just a role for police, it required combined commitment from a range of partners agencies, community organisations and Iwi to empower communities to help themselves.

Mr Fraser said that same team effort would feature strongly in this week's operation as staff who ordinarily work in more station-bound roles joined colleagues from other teams out in the community.

"This is a valuable opportunity for us as a service to engage face-to-face with our communities and to develop further our understanding of the issues they face. It is also an opportunity for large numbers of staff, no matter what their role, to get involved in prevention activity at the coal-face."

That activity will include increased foot patrols, liaison with communities, businesses, licensees and road users over a four-hour period.

He said victims would also be at the heart of these operations.

"Often simple crime prevention measures can stop victims being repeatedly targeted and the police are in a unique influential position to make sure that the right advice and support reaches the right people when they need it most."

All staff rostered on duty on Friday will play a part in Operation Presence over a four-hour period. The operation will not affect the emergency response capability of Bay of Plenty Police.

"Some of this activity will have elements of day-to-day policing and enforcement but the staff will be working with a prevention focus and not just dealing with the here and now. It is a concerted culture shift away from our traditional response focus. The aim may be very simple - to make a difference and to make our communities safer - but to do that effectively we need to truly know our communities and fully understand what will help them in the longer term."


- Rotorua Daily Post

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