Police swap desk for streets

By gary.hamilton-irvine@dailypost.co.nz, Gary Hamilton-Irvine

Staff at the Rotorua Police Station vacated their offices in droves to execute Operation Presence on the streets of Rotorua.

Operation Presence saw police staff, including office-based staff, disperse throughout Rotorua to make themselves visible and provide community assurance.

Senior Sergeant Brendon Keenan of the Rotorua police said from 11am to 3pm yesterday almost all the day-staff were out on the beat or out doing preventative tasks.

He said there were two groups walking the beat, dog handlers at Te Matatini, other staff patrolling tourism spots, roading police holding compliance and speed checks and tactical officers following up search and arrest warrants.

Mr Keenan said the operation was highlighting the New Zealand police's operating strategy of crime prevention.

"Today was about making the Rotorua community feel safe, making sure police could be seen doing preventative tasks."

Mr Keenan said even those police officers who did the majority of their work in the station, behind a desk, were also out helping with the operation.

Bay of Plenty police prevention manager Inspector Scott Fraser said crime, crashes and investigations were all important parts of policing.

However, he said crime prevention was the police's biggest focus.

"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."

Operation Presence was held in conjunction with three other police centres in the Bay of Plenty region, who also performed the crime prevention tasks.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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