Police focus on poaching in Roxburgh

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 06:55 06/12/2013

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A gap left by a retired Roxburgh police officer will not be filled, with bosses deciding to run the Roxburgh police station as sole charge.

Central Otago sub area supervisor Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said after Senior Sergeant Jape Wanoa retired earlier this year police reviewed whether Roxburgh would stay as a two-man station or whether police would be better served using the position in another way.

"We found Roxburgh is a very safe community and has a low crime rate. Lance Davies, who is a constable there, is well embedded in the community and has a good handle on what's happening in his town and that is exactly what we want in a small town."

The vacant position would be turned into a rural community position with a strong focus on poaching, he said.

"We have had a very successful poaching campaign running for several years now. It was started in Central Otago in 2010 by Detective Sergeant Liz Williams. Her role has changed and it is currently being co-ordinated by rural staff, but we are looking to have a real focus on that by our rural community officer.

"It also increases our presence out in the rural community, because we are a rural area so we really want to put our resources out there.

"Our poaching initiative has been pointed to as being one of the best in the country and farmers have embraced it. It is an issue that has come to the fore more and more. Hunting is a great pastime in this area and a lot of people are active hunters. There is a group who believe they can hunt wherever they want."

A recent case currently before the court involved a farmer who while hunting on his own property spotted someone running through his scope while he was lining up a deer, Kerrisk said.

Stock thefts were becoming more apparent.

"The number of reports are not high, but any stock theft is concerning. People day to day in Roxburgh will probably not notice - there will still be a presence, but hopefully farmers will have an extra presence."

The rural community officer would hold meetings with the rural community, encourage forming neighbourhood support groups and talk about crime prevention and security, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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