Amid robbery concerns, new police area commander takes up the reigns

Inspector Naila Hassan has been at the Otahuhu Station for about five weeks.
JARRED WILLIAMSON / FAIRFAX NZ

Inspector Naila Hassan has been at the Otahuhu Station for about five weeks.

Inspector Naila Hassan is up for the challenge as top cop in one of the country's busiest policing areas.

Five weeks into the job as area commander for Counties Manukau West, Hassan says she is working on building trust and confidence among the community.

She's come from being Waikato West's area commander for the past two years. There Hassan oversaw policing in areas like Huntly, Cambridge and down to Te Kuiti.

Hassan will now see oversee policing and relationships in the Mangere, Otahuhu and Papatoetoe areas; all suburbs which have been in the headlines over a spate of robberies in recent months.

"I know the community are concerned [about robberies]. The major crime team are doing great work in preventing and investigating the robberies," she says.

"I hope by connecting with the community we can prevent crime ... it's just something police can't do alone."

Rumours have circled about some businesses selling stolen tobacco.

"My message to them is this: you are creating the problem, you are creating the demand. It will be a matter of time before they will be victims of crime themselves," she warns.

Before Hassan's short stint in the Waikato, the majority of her 28 year policing career was in the Auckland City police district.

She held various roles across CIB, managed the district's police prosecutors and also resource deployment.

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It's also there she became involved in helping roll out the new "prevention first" policing model in 2011, something Hassan is passionate about.

"It excited me, and seeing city policing move to prevention."

In the coming months, Hassan says she will be meeting with community leaders from across the area's multi-cultural population.

Hassan, herself a muslim from Pakistan, was getting ready to meet with community leaders at a mosque in Mangere.

She says she didn't acknowledge publicly her beliefs for about 20 years. Now, she says diversity is encouraged and will be an asset.

An action plan has been drafted for the area around Old Papatoetoe and Hunters Corner, Hassan says.

It covers "attractors and enhancers" in issues identified through surveys over concerns about youth, robberies and prostitution.

Hassan says the area, with its headquarters at Otahuhu Station, "hums along" and staff are energised and motivated in their work.

 - Stuff

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