Petition opposes police centre closure

23:00, Nov 25 2012

Roslyn residents are upset about the planned closure of the Rossmont Community Policing Centre, with some saying it's the wrong move.

The suggested shakeup of the Central Police District announced earlier this year could mean Palmerston North's smaller stations, such as the Rossmont centre in Kipling St, face an uncertain future.

If Rossmont closes, the area would be patrolled by officers based at the central city station, and initiatives such as the Roslyn community Have A Say Day on Saturday might not exist.

Constable Leanna Bloemendaal, of the Rossmont Community Policing Centre, played a big part in driving the community gala and teamed up with the Roslyn Education and Community Health group, better known as Reach, to put on the event.

"It gets the community together, gets everyone talking to each other and it helps create the feeling that we're all looking out for our neighbours," she said.

Among the more than 500 people who came to Norton Park, off Featherston St, was Highbury resident Selwyn Ponga-Davis, who was promoting a petition.


Mr Ponga-Davis, with his daughter Jasmin and three of her friends, gathered nearly 200 signatures in just over an hour in support of keeping the Rossmont Community Policing Centre.

After seeing the benefits of the Highbury Community Policing Centre, and the work community officers had done to revitalise the suburb, he wanted to help Roslyn achieve the same thing.

Having the "local bobby" on the streets and a strong community policing presence made a difference, he said.

"We need the policemen who are approachable and friendly, so if you have any issues, you can go to them.

"I think a lot of people can relate to the local policeman who used to pop into the schools and that's really important for Roslyn to have."

Police have identified Roslyn as a focus area, citing disorderly behaviour, burglaries, fighting and youth crime as issues.

Joint initiatives with the city council include after-school homework groups, community cooking classes, free parenting lessons and free school lunches. A community garden project has also started.

Insurance broker John Doolan, 66, from Milson, said it was good for the police to be seen as part of the community.

"Taking [the Rossmont station] away will cause a loss of identity and a loss of police contact with the people; they will become removed from being our buddies and as somebody to trust and to go to."

Central District area commander Superintendent Russell Gibson said it was too early to tell what would happen to the policing centre.

"We're getting advice from a lot of people, and in due course we will make a decision."

Mr Ponga-Davis will be presenting the petition to the superintendent this week.

Manawatu Standard