Policing on parade for the public

Police doors open for family day out

LISA KNIGHT
Last updated 07:45 05/06/2014
Police open day
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

KIDS RULE: Thomas, 4, and Lucy, 8, check out police life with help from Sergeant Craig Smith.

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The Palmerston North police station is to open its doors and give families the chance to mix with the thin blue line for the New Zealand Police National Open Day next week.

Manawatu prevention manager Inspector Brett Calkin said the open day was a nationwide initiative and would showcase almost every work group in the force, including forensics, the armed offenders, dog squads, and highway patrol.

"It's one day of the year where we'll be connecting with the local community, so it's a really good opportunity to come along and see what we do," Calkin said.

The dog squad puppy and youth services display would probably be highlights for children, with dress-ups, stickers, balloons and "junior police officer" recruiting, he said.

Youth services co-ordinator Sergeant Craig Smith said the junior police officers could learn about finger printing and be awarded with a certificate on the day.

"It's about encouraging children to show respect and responsibility," he said.

"It's a bit interactive and hopefully engages with [children] and gives them good messages."

Calkin said an open day was not something they did often, with the last event when the station opened on Church St in 2007, so it was a great time to have a look through the building.

"We've previously shown refugees around and it tends to reduce fear that some communities have of the police. People can come in and look at our stuff and see what we do, and they feel more confident and assured about police and that it's not a bad place."

With all 12 police districts throughout the country taking part, the open day will be the first time the New Zealand Police has opened its doors to the community on a national scale.

Commissioner Mike Bush said the event would help the community understand what a modern police service looked like.

"New tools and technology have enabled a major transformation of the way we do business," he said.

"We'd like to show New Zealand how we are using these to prevent crime, reduce offending and keep our communities safe."

The force was committed to the safety of New Zealanders, Bush said.

"We want the community to have the chance to see how we are working to achieve that."

The open day is on Saturday June 14 at the Palmerston North police station at 410 Church St from 10am to 1pm.

Features will include a tour of the station's ground floor and cell block, an historic police car display, forensics and finger printing, a puppy from the dog squad, community partner stalls, static displays from each policing unit and a sausage sizzle.

Entry is a gold coin donation and proceeds will go to Maori Women's Refuge.

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- Manawatu Standard

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