More cops on beat in the streets

By Brendan Manning


Wairarapa police are hitting the streets in a show of force aimed at keeping the community safer.

Police conducted 87 foot patrols in Wairarapa in December, compared with 45 in December 2011.

Senior Sergeant Warwick Burr said police had been making a conscious effort to increase foot patrols throughout the region's towns. Crimes including dishonesty, disorder and assaults were the focus of the renewed efforts, he said.

"Generally speaking, what we're doing is trying to increase our visibility and therefore, increase public safety.

"It's aimed at the whole picture so that people going about their business in the CBDs of all of our Wairarapa towns can feel safer."

Nine public place assaults were recorded in Wairarapa last December, with a further five against police; comparatively, 12 public assaults occurred in December 2011, none against police.

Higher police visibility was something the public always wanted, Mr Burr said.

Last year, a 36-year-old man was hospitalised with a broken nose and several others were injured after a drunken brawl in Masterton in the early hours of Boxing Day. Several children witnessed the fight, which involved men and women.

The brawl started when a group in High St tried to merge with another party further up the road.

Meanwhile, a man was attacked with metal bars by two assailants who jumped from a car while the victim waited for a morning train earlier in December.

The attack happened about 6.20am at the Solway train station. The train commuter suffered moderate injuries. Two men were arrested.

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."

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


Wairarapa

45 foot patrols in December 2011.

87 foot patrols in December 2012.

Wellington police district

4116 foot patrols in 2011.

7581 foot patrols in 2012 (84.1 per cent increase).

Nationally

40,918 foot patrols in 2011.

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


APNZ

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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