Public back petition on community police base

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 13:48 01/12/2012

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A Palmerston North man who collected almost 200 signatures in a petition against the planned closure of the Rossmont Community Policing Centre expects to present them to police management next week.

Highbury resident and chairman of Celtic Sports Club Selwyn Ponga-Davis is behind a petition opposing any plans to close the community station.

The centre faces an uncertain future as the Central Police District undergoes a restructure.

He got the signatures at the Have A Say community gala in Roslyn last weekend, which was organised by police in conjunction with the Roslyn Education and Community Health group (Reach).

To get 183 people to sign the petition out of the 500-odd who attended was a good indication of how the local community felt about the station, he said.

Mr Ponga-Davis said he was not planning to get any more signatures.

Having seen the positive effects the Highbury station had on his part of town, Mr Ponga-Davis felt it could only be positive if they continued to work in the Roslyn community.

He saw the relationships officers had built in Roslyn himself when he was arranging a tug of war at the gala and asked some children to go and get the police to take part.

"They instinctively just ran to them, you don't generally see kids doing that," Mr Ponga-Davis said.

"It was quite touching to see small kids go grab the hand of the local constable."

In the meantime, the club he was involved in focused mainly around children in sports.

They had plans to extend their services out toward Roslyn, as did the Highbury Whanau Centre, he said.

Mr Ponga-Davis expects to present the signatures to Central District Police Manager of Operations Inspector Dave White next week.

Central District area commander Superintendent Russell Gibson said they hoped to have more direction on what would happen to the centre before Christmas, but was unable to say when a decision would be made.

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- Manawatu Standard

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