Paihia Police Station has reopened three days a week for a two-month trial period following calls for a permanent police presence in Northland's top tourist town.
Residents organised a petition earlier this year and have organised a public meeting on April 1 to urge police to reopen the Williams Rd station, which has not been permanently staffed since 2018.
Since then Northland police have decided to open the station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm.
Police data shows officers responded to 2668 incidents in the Paihia area in the six months to the end of January 2021. The number in the same six-month period one year earlier, before Covid, was 2216.
Outside those hours staff would be out attending to calls or carrying out crime-prevention tasks, but relieving Area Commander Inspector Chris McLellan said they could be directed back to Paihia station for urgent matters or by appointment for non-urgent assistance.
The two-month trial started on March 15.
McLellan said in the current operating model staff worked across the whole Mid North, with police using ''intelligence-based knowledge and experience to put staff in the right place at the right time".
That way they could maximise their impact on crime and community reassurance with the resources available.
That did, however, mean balancing needs across specific areas.
"But we've listened to the community and they've asked us to look at Paihia station. The hours we've chosen are the times we think foot traffic is likely to be greatest, and will allow people to call in for face-to-face conversations with an officer," McLellan said.
"The intention is to see what demand there is over a two-month trial, then evaluate what a community-based solution could look like. If there's high demand we would definitely take that into consideration."
McLellan said the way people were reporting crime was changing with many opting to report online or calling 105 for non-urgent matters. People should continue to use 111 for anything urgent, he said.
McLellan said he planned to attend the meeting.
"We have been approached by members of the public who've raised concerns about how they feel and what they want from us which is great. They have also highlighted concerns in regards to Kings Rd, the central business area and about speed on Marsden Rd near the barbecue area, which is busy with families at weekends."
While police weren't permanently based at Paihia station prior to the trial, the station was used regularly, for example by road policing units and for arrest procedures and interviews.
During times of heavy demand – such as music festivals, New Year's Eve and several days either side of Waitangi Day – police also worked out of Paihia station, he said.
The meeting has been called by Paihia resident Morgan Pollock, who said crime had increased sharply since the Covid pandemic.
That included assaults, threats, shop break-ins, a home invasion and a high-profile kidnapping in which a couple allegedly tried to force a Paihia business owner to withdraw money from an ATM, she said.
■ The meeting will be held at the Paihia Memorial Hall on Williams Rd on April 1. Doors will open at 4.30pm with speakers due to start at 5.30pm.