Murupara residents and community leaders turned out at a local marae this morning to discuss safety in the town after an ATM theft just over a week ago.
The meeting was held at Rangitahi Marae and Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey and Carolyn Meihana, who represented National MP for the East Coast Anne Tolley, were there. Bay of Plenty police also attended.
The residents requested the local police station be manned "around the clock" and for an officer to stay in the police house in the town.
However, Inspector Brendon Keenan said police in the Bay of Plenty already provided a 24/7 response with staff deployed across the district based on demand.
"There's a common misconception that police are dispatched from their local station, however, when units are dispatched they are more often than not already out in the community."
Keenan said police were working with the community to ensure safety was a priority and were adaptable to ensure the needs of the community were met.
Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake O Tawhiuau principal Pem Bird said the purpose of the meeting was to ensure the community was looked after in terms of safety.
He said there was a "big turnout" from members of all corners of the community, including children and they were all after "quality care" for the town.
The police requests were lodged but residents also suggested they work in "partnership with the police" to create their own town security system, he said.
Bird said they would need walkie talkies and other equipment to make sure their "community watch" system operated smoothly.
Coffey said he asked the community to turn their ideas into a plan that he could take to Parliament to advocate for growth and positive change in the town.
He said the meeting also covered night patrols and transport to polytech.
The meeting came after a front-end loader was used to remove an entire ATM from a Murupara NZCU building in the early hours of June 3.
The money machine was later discovered abandoned and intact in the Kaingaroa Forest.
NZCU confirmed the company would reinstall the machine. The decision followed a review that included considering staff safety, Murupara's need for access to cash, and working with the community to identify steps to help prevent similar situations occurring in the future.
In a previous statement, NZCU Baywide sales, marketing and channels general manager Andrew Quayle said staff safety was paramount and as such, no cash would be held inside the branch.
Until the ATM was reinstalled, NZCU Central said they would be offering a limited free transport service, once a week, to their Rotorua branch.
Details about the service would be provided via the branch from today.
Keenan said the investigation into the robbery was ongoing and police were not in a position to speculate on whether it was linked to other incidents.