Visible police curb crime

RHIANNON HORRELL
Last updated 08:19 18/07/2012

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A raft of changes are putting "prevention at the forefront" of everything police do to reduce crime and crashes.

The changes are part of the national Prevention First strategy and will focus on prevention, response and investigation.

It will affect a large number of staff from the Auckland city policing district's western, eastern and central areas.

The boundary between the eastern and western areas is roughly Manukau Rd, while the central area covers the central city and Parnell.

Western area commander Inspector Jim Wilson says the Prevention First strategy will run until 2015.

"It will put prevention at the forefront of everything we do to reduce crime and crashes. Our focus is to get staff on to the street."

He says victims of crime will receive better services and staff will be deployed differently.

"We want our workforce to be more flexible and better placed to respond."

Mr Wilson says there'll be a new area manager for prevention. This will encompass youth aid, strategic road policing, public counters and two community teams with six constables on each.

Heading these teams will be Sergeant Craig Cartwright of Ponsonby police and Sergeant James Cassin of Mt Roskill police.

The new area manager for response will be Senior Sergeant Ross Endicott-Davies who will be in charge of public safety teams.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Sutton will lead the investigations area. This will include CIB, the running of general duties inquiries (based in Balmoral) and the tactical crime unit.

Auckland city central area commander Inspector Andrew Coster says the changes affect his patch differently because it is geographically smaller.

"The thrust of the changes is to drive an area-based approach to issues. Previously some stations would operate with staff they have locally. Now we're looking at issues across the police area.

"It will give us the ability to put larger resources towards local issues."

He says the Auckland central station has tended to operate under a similar broad model to the new one in any case.

Beat staff will remain at the downtown station and the patrol group will be based at the central station.

Liquor-licensing staff will be centralised in one team to cover the district.

The central station will host the community action team of community constables, the youth action team, the strategic traffic unit, intel, and admin support, and will also remain the district headquarters, Mr Coster says.

Auckland east area commander Chief Inspector John Palmer says the changes mean police are more accessible. He says instead of having to physically report to a station in the event of a burglary, a person can ring the Crime Reporting Line.

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"I would expect less people to come to police stations in the future."

Community constables will still be responsible for their areas.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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