More police on CBD area beat

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 09:00 30/11/2013

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Palmerston North police are ramping up their foot patrols in the hope of heading off an expected increase in crime during the holiday period.

As the weather heats up and party season starts, Acting Inspector Brett Calkin said police were expecting an increase in crime in the city's central business area.

Just last week, an 18 year-old Ucol student was assaulted in The Square about 8pm on November 22, and taken to an ATM machine where he was told to empty his bank account.

The pair who accosted him got away with his backpack, cellphone and $30 from his account.

Mr Calkin said police have clear security footage of his attackers, and are confident of catching them.

The incident was not indicative of an increase in crime in The Square however, as public place violence statistics had been static over the past five weeks, averaging about nine a week in the CBD.

Mr Calkin said moving into the festive season, a lot more people would be out in the central city, both during the day and at night.

Every year police tried to mitigate the risk, particularly with the increase in work parties and alcohol consumption, he said.

To that end, starting Monday, additional police would be walking the beat around the central city, particularly "high risk" areas, including parts of The Square, select shops and car parks.

Those patrols would continue up until Christmas Day, Mr Calkin said.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Operation Bolt would swing into action, with police staff keeping an eye on revellers.

"It's a really busy time for alcohol related harm," he said.

Patrols would focus on licenced premises, particularly the strip of Main St between The Square and Princess St.

That area was the site of a fight between a bouncer and a patron earlier this month that saw a man thrown into a parking meter. The bouncer, Victor Pereira, has since been charged with assault.

Mr Calkin said when police first ran Operation Bolt over a seven week period in May and June this year, late night disorder dropped dramatically.

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- Manawatu Standard

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