Police restructure could result in increased crime, union says

District commander of the Central Police Region Sue Schwalger says total number across the wider district will not decrease.
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

District commander of the Central Police Region Sue Schwalger says total number across the wider district will not decrease.

A proposed restructure of Central District police could result in increased crime in some communities, the head of the Police Association says. 

Project Balance, a police consultation document, could see the number of officers working from smaller rural stations around the central district, including some in Taranaki, reduced, Chris Cahill said.

Taranaki area commander Inspector Keith Borrell directed inquiries to District commander Superintendent Sue Schwalger who confirmed police were consulting with staff on the best way to deliver services across the district - which includes Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu.

Waitara Community Board chairman Joe Rauner is worried police numbers in the town could be halved.

Waitara Community Board chairman Joe Rauner is worried police numbers in the town could be halved.

"However, there are no changes to Central District's overall constabulary numbers and no stations will close as a result of this proposal," Schwalger said.

READ MORE
Obstacles put in the way of police doing their job, retiring detective senior sergeant says

Volunteers shut out of police stations due to fears for safety
Police shut community bases in 23 areas after safety fears
Official crime stats reveal burglaries and crime rising
Veteran cop who criticised new police media policy hauled in front of top brass

While Cahill wouldn't discuss individual stations he said the proposal would delay police response times to some communities and result in increased crime in rural areas.

Police Association president Chris Cahill is not impressed with a police proposal currently being consulted on.
MAARTEN HOLL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Police Association president Chris Cahill is not impressed with a police proposal currently being consulted on.

"There's every possibility that they will have a lesser permanent presence in the community, and the service will be affected because of some of these changes without a doubt.

"We don't believe that some of these communities affected will get the level of service that they have now or that they deserve."

Cahill said while there had been new initiatives and teams established, police resources had not been increased to meet the new demands which was frustrating frontline staff.

"We are now having to rob Peter to pay Paul by moving staff from some areas to meet these extra demands for service.

Ad Feedback

"We did a survey of our members and one of the key things that came out was that the officers don't believe they were able to deliver the service the community deserved and this will just heighten that within the Central Districts region."

He said police should be provided with the additional resources now and then look at where they were needed to meet demands.

Schwalger said the views of staff were being sought to ensure the future organisational structure was focused on prevention and enabled resources to be deployed to best meet the demands of the communities served.

"We have and will be consulting at a high level with our major stakeholders, however to go into specific detail prior to receiving feedback from our staff would be somewhat premature."

Joe Rauner, of the Waitara community board, said he had heard the number of staff in the town would be halved under the proposal.

"It's a disgrace really and it's another kick in the guts for Waitara," Rauner said.

"Criminal activity is going to increase because they know that they have 20 to 25 minutes to do what they have to and get out of town before we get a police presence here."

Rauner said it was already difficult to get hold of police and with the town's population growing reducing staff was a step in the wrong direction.

"These guys who have made these decisions have never been to Waitara before so what do they know about our needs. 

"What does the community have to do - get together and go vigilante? That's what the police say you are not allowed to do."

New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom said he had been reassured the proposed changes would not impact the level of frontline policing in the district.

"Our community is a safe one and the police do a fantastic job here and Detective Inspector Borrell has assured me they will continue to maintain the same high quality of service to the people of North Taranaki, including Waitara, Inglewood, Oakura and Okato, and that is the critical thing," Holdom said.

He said it was sensible to review the way services were delivered to see if things could be done more efficiently.

"Police will simply be doing this work in a different way with a lot of the office-based paperwork having been centralised outside of the region."

Stratford mayor Neil Volzke said he had been assured the town's police station would remain open.

"The information that I was given was there will not be much change, although I haven't seen the details to know exactly what that entails."

He said further information would help give some certainty and assurance the proposal would serve the community well.

"I would be concerned if they did something that did cause delays in response times."

Schwalger said staff consultation ran through until November 28, and all feedback would be considered before a final proposed structure and deployment model was prepared.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

One house but two homes video

The house is designed with two distinct "wings" to give each couple their own space. The only shared space is the foyer.

Buying a first home in Auckland's Grey Lynn was little more than a dream for two young couples - until they pooled their resources.

'We're just thrilled he's here'

Alec Gannaway celebrates his birthday at Auckland City Hospital surrounded by family. From left: sister Rose, mum Joy ...

Two weeks ago, Alec Gannaway was dragged by a car and put in a coma. Today, he's 21.

Senior cop sex complaint

A police officer is under investigation after it was alleged he harassed and molested a woman more than 10 years ago ...

Woman claims she was harassed and sexually assaulted over several years - and was nicknamed 'Spice'.

Girl missing for three weeks

Tamia Apaapa was reported missing on March 27 and was last seen in school uniform.

Tamia Apaapa, missing since March, made contact with her family on Monday evening.

Wellington

Rare falcon shot dead

Doc is outraged after a rare falcon was killed in Nikau Valley, Paraparaumu.

DoC furious over killing of protected bird, which could lead to jail sentence or a $100k fine.

Capital's mystery jet

A jet with blocked details landed at Wellington Airport on Monday evening.

Gulfstream jet with blocked flight tracker credentials touches down in Wellington.

Councillor under investigation

Kapiti Coast District councillor David Scott has denied any wrongdoing for his part in the alleged incident with a ...

Kapiti councillor David Scott accused of grabbing senior manager's hips and 'pressing' himself against her.

Claim of brawl at club rugby game

A player was allegedly kicked in the head following a Stokes Valley v Johnsonville match on Saturday. (FILE)

Alleged thuggery mars J'ville v Stokes Valley match: "It was the worst s--t I've seen in my life."

Canterbury

Brownlee recalibrates for role

Gerry Brownlee is our new Foreign Affairs minister.

Brownlee switches from combative to diplomatic as he prepares for new role.

Funeral home OKed

Halswell residents are upset at plans by Lamb and Hayward to build a multi-million dollar funeral home on the corner of ...

Residents are vowing to fight the decision to approve a Halswell "spiritual facility".

Driver leapt to safety

Fire crews were stood down after the driver of a crashed digger near Little River, Canterbury, escaped unharmed (file photo).

A driver escaped unharmed after digger rolled off a rural Canterbury road.

Brickbats and bouquets for Gerry

Gerry Brownlee is signing off as rebuild minister. What does the city think?

City leaders and residents react to news Gerry Brownlee will no longer be the rebuild boss.

Waikato

Tangiwai unveiling brings relief

Tangiwai train crash disaster in 1953.

A special memorial will set the record straight about two railway workers who helped save 134 lives.

Two sides of the trench

21042017 News Photo: DOMINICO ZAPATA
News: Bulent Yaprak and Caren Yaprak (Kiwi/Turk and Kiwi wife) discuss what ANZAC ...

There's always another side to the story. Want to hear the other side of Anzac Day? Ask a Turkish Kiwi.

Fraudster guilty

Matamata man Brian Duffell leaves the Hamilton District Court following an earlier appearance.

Brian Duffell owns up after fleecing investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Punk show for Anzacs

Hamilton punk band BattleCat is leading an Anzac eve gig, with all door sales going to the RSA.

Hamilton punks are banding together to raise beer money for RSA members this Anzac eve.

Taranaki

Cat caught living second life video

Simba the cat has been living a second life under the alias, Crazy Horse. His two owners Mychaela Groombridge and ...

He likes to disappear for days - but it turns out Simba's been involved with another woman.

Chong coy on future

Councillor Murray Chong has laid complaints about a fake Facebook profile set up claiming he was running for New Zealand ...

Murray Chong isn't too sure whether he's interested in standing for New Zealand First or not. 

A dangerous exercise

There have been a spate of crashes on Taranaki roads this month.

OPINION: Taranaki, I think we have a problem.

Taranaki night time delight

Tim Bond has wanted to capture the Aurora Australis for years, finally succeeding Sunday night at Dawson Falls.

A photographic dream has finally come true for Tim Bond.

Manawatu

Fighting through pain

Aimee Perrett knew something was wring when she jumped on the bike.

Aimee Perrett completed an ironman race despite the effects of a rare disease.

Grand prix to stay

Manfeild Chief executive Julie Keane says the Feilding venue is committed to growing the New Zealand Grand Prix.

Manfeild fights off two other venues to keep the New Zealand Grand Prix. 

Slip closes Manawatu Gorge

The Manawatu Gorge is closed following a slip.

A slip has blocked both lanes of the Manawatu Gorge, closing it overnight.

'We slept in an Agent Orange area'

Murray Wardlaw, a veteran of the Malaysian Confrontation and the Vietnam War.

"Scared? You bet, but I was a soldier. I knew what to do, and how to do it..."

Nelson

Seas the day

23042017 NEWS PHOTO VIRGINIA WOOLF/FAIRFAX NZ

Russell Blowers, left, with David Puklowski as he arrives into Nelson ...

After braving high seas and mechanical blips, Nelson's Dave Puklowski had a welcome home befitting his epic efforts to help a mate.

Deadly carelessness

Kenneth Michael Wolnak has admitted careless driving causing death and injury.

A heart surgeon has been ordered to pay $165,000 for causing the deaths of two men in a horrific Nelson crash.

'Loss of innocence'

Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said the man's offending amounted to a "gross breach of trust".

A woman who was sexually violated as a teen confronted her abuser in court.

Govt backs families' diary fight

14042017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

Margaret Kearns of Stoke Nelson with a copy World War One (WW1) diary ...

Kiwi war memorabilia locked in a UK university will be pursued by the government.

Marlborough

"I must belong somewhere"

US Marines in Wellington in 1942 on a train to Paekakariki.

Her birth certificate only revealed the name of her mother, not her father.

Grape spill bill

Zeolite, a multipurpose absorbent is spread over a grape spill at a roundabout in Blenheim.

The bill for clearing the roads of spilled grapes in Marlborough's harvest has so far come in at $17,000.

Funding gets green light

With State Highway 1 closed, the alternative inland route through Lewis Pass is suffering increased wear and tear.

Marlborough's transport committee has approved a request from NZTA to give them access to $15m upgrading the alternative route.

Hobbit designer's winery concept

Jackson Estate directors Jeff Hart, left, and John Benton in front of the new winery and cellar door modelled on an ...

They call it collision architecture, an 1850s-style settler's hut wrapped into a new boutique winery.

South Canterbury

New book on war hero

Tom O'Connor has published a book on Waimate war hero Eric Batchelor.

The life of one of New Zealand's most decorated soldiers has been detailed in new book.

Acid spill investigated

Leaking acid prompted an emergency response at the Redruth Resource Recovery Centre on Monday.

Investigation launched after acid leaks from containers at Redruth landfill site.

Realities of war recalled video

World War II veteran Bill Cocks receives Anzac biscuits baked by YMCA Oscar holiday programme participant Hunter Duggan, ...

Timaru children have heard about the realities of war from South Canterbury veterans.

Extra long weekend for some

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce president John Cannell says he has heard of some employers asking their employees ...

Some employers ask staff to take Monday off making for another long weekend.

Southland

Five Eyes could be in Invercargill

Passengers disembark the United States Of America aircraft at Invercargill airport.

An unusual landing at Invercargill Airport has been said to be visitors for the Five Eyes intelligence network.

New Zealand's most rural burglary?

A brazen thief has stolen hundreds of dollars worth of home kill, dozens of cheese rolls, a Swanndri, and some gumboots ...

It's enough to make any Southerner weep into their Speight's.

Te Anau wastewater saga continues

Southland Mayor Gary Tong.

Talk of an alternative site for the Te Anau wastewater scheme remains on the council's mind, after its agreed alternative fell over.

Milford Sound shift

Community Trust of Southland chief executive officer John Prendergast.

The Community Trust of Southland is investigating whether it might be able to bring Milford Sound under its wing.

Ad Feedback