A spokesman for the Sensible Sentencing Trust believes Rotorua needs a stronger police presence in the CBD, including more police on the beat.

But a local inspector says having his officers on foot patrol all the time is a luxury he just can't afford.

Yesterday the Rotorua Daily Post reported that assault, burglary and robbery offences had risen in Rotorua, with a 92 per cent increase in victims of robberies.

Statistics New Zealand figures show that of the six offence categories listed by its victimisation rate, four increased in Rotorua in the 12 months to July 2016. They were assault, robbery and extortion, burglary and theft.


In response to those figures, Sensible Sentencing Trust Rotorua spokesman Peter Bentley said in his view the council needed to work more closely with the police.

He said the City Guardians, a security operation run by the Rotorua Lakes Council, appeared to him to have a less prominent presence in the CBD since their office was moved from the City Focus.

"The thing is, they are pretty restricted in that they have no legal standing, if a shoplifter wants to walk away they can walk away," he said.

He also called for more police on the beat.

"We need a much heavier police presence, usually around Christmas time or other holidays they have more of a presence and there's nothing better than catching a police officer's eye and giving them a sense of thanks from the public," Mr Bentley said.

Rotorua police area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale said he frequently tasked members of the service to foot patrol.

"We have a defined resource of staff. It's up to us to decide how they should be deployed.

"On a day to day basis I have to give careful consideration as to where our staff should be. Having members on foot patrol all the time would do wonders for trust and confidence but that's a luxury we can't afford."

Rotorua Lakes Council chief operating officer Dave Foster said the aim of the City Safe Guardians and Kaitiaki Officers was to deter crime and troublesome behaviour, make people feel safe and help visitors.

"They maintain a strong presence in the central city and they patrol from Amohau St to the Lakefront and from the Aquatic Centre to the Government Gardens.

"The council team's role is different to that of security guards or police but they have an excellent working relationship with the police and work very closely with them. They are in direct contact with police, able to call them in when necessary, acting as their eyes and ears and where appropriate, taking preventive action themselves.

"The team also work with inner city businesses, youth services and government agencies and council gets a huge amount of positive feedback about the work they do and the role they play, including from police and business owners.

"Other ways council is contributing to public safety in the central city includes improved lighting, reconfiguring seating and improving intersections."