Going inside for police eye view
Long arm of the law extends to communityLUCY TOWNEND
The long arm of the law has been extended to Palmerston North people keen to inspect the world of policing.
Officers at the city's police station on Church St unlocked the ground floor, emptied the holding cells, moved offenders to Feilding and welcomed nearly 3000 people on Saturday for the New Zealand Police National Open Day.
The day was part of a nationwide initiative showcasing almost every work group in the force, including forensics, the armed offenders squad, dog squads, land search and rescue, highway patrol, youth services and other community partners.
For children there were opportunities to get close to a crime scene, albeit a staged one, have their fingerprints taken, check out the sirens and lights of police cars, as well as playing dress-up and patting the 3-year-old police dog, Vice.
For the adults the holding cells, a breathalyser test in the booze bus, the paddy wagon and questions for the armed offenders squad about sieges and standoffs sparked their interest.
Inspector Pat Handcock said the day was about engaging with the community.
"It's an opportunity for us to interact in a really positive way and for our staff to have that time to talk to the members of the public that they may not have the chance to," he said.
"People are naturally curious and sometimes we aren't as accessible as what we'd like to be, so days like these provide a good opportunity for people to come see us, talk to us, see what we have and what we do."
The last time the station was publicly opened was in 2005, but the plan was to host opportunities for people to have a look more often, Handcock said.
The 12 police districts throughout the country all took part, making it the first time the New Zealand Police opened the doors to the community on a national scale.
Police raised just under $1000, which has been donated to Maori Women's Refuge.
- Manawatu Standard
How excited are you about the 2014 Commonwealth Games?Related story: After the hype, time to let the Games begin