Some Upper Hutt residents are concerned that reduced police station opening hours will not keep their community safe.
On Wednesday, Upper Hutt police announced they were reducing the opening hours of their station front desk to Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm.
It had previously been open Monday–Friday, 8am-7pm, and 8am-4pm on weekends.
Upper Hutt Greypower president Dean Chandler Mills said the opening hours were a concern to senior residents.
"Criminals in Upper Hutt don't work Monday to Friday, 9–5," he said.
"We want the full 24/7 services and the ability to be able to go down and make complaints at any time, Monday to Sunday."
While police would remain contactable online or by phoning 105, Mills said this was "definitely not good enough" for senior people.
"A lot of our older residents don't have modern technology or the ability to use modern technology," he said.
"Just phoning and hoping that somebody turns up is not good enough."
Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said he was not concerned about safety, because less police officers at the station would mean more police presence on the street.
"The front office will be reduced hours and closing on the weekends, but for me, policing's not about people sitting in a building – it's about visibility and people being on the streets," he said.
"By not having to have staff tied up within that building, they'll be out and about and doing what police do."
Upper Hutt City Councillor Angela McLeod said she was "really disappointed" in the reduced opening hours and would be speaking to the mayor about her concerns.
"There are members of the community feeling let down by the police, but also the police say in their communication that they consulted with community leaders.
"As a councillor I would consider myself a community leader and none of us have been consulted."
She said the police station was still the first port of call for many residents to report a crime.
"There are stories about people that have been attacked or approached or assaulted in some way," she said.
"And they go to the police station because it's their first place, and it's quicker, or it's a safe place for them to go. And now they can't.
"There's a fundamental need for our community to feel safe."
Police the decision came from an operational review, and was driven by decreasing demand for service at the front counter in the evenings and on weekends.
Te Awakairangi Hutt Valley Area Commander Inspector Dion Bennett said it would balance the community's needs and the welfare and safety of sole staff members.
"Very few members of the public are visiting Upper Hutt Police Station at the weekend or later in the day," Bennett said.
"By closing at these times we can instead deploy our staff to times when it is busy."
Bennett said the change in hours would not affect the service the police gave to the community.
"Police will continue to work and be deployed from the Upper Hutt Police station 24/7," he said.
"What is changing is the public front counter will be closed on weekends."
The reduced hours would take effect from Monday, May 17.