Cambridge business community believes lack of police damaging town's brand

Cambridge Police station will not be upgraded to a 24/7operation, in a funding plan released by the Government for the ...
EMMA JAMES/FAIRFAX MEDIA

Cambridge Police station will not be upgraded to a 24/7operation, in a funding plan released by the Government for the next four years.

Cambridge's business community has joined the town's fight for a return to 24/7 policing of the Waikato town.

A statement issued by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce said it wanted "effective and efficient policing" that was visible and active.

The chamber was responding to news that Cambridge was left off a list of towns to have police stations upgraded to 24/7 operations.

Cambridge Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tania Witheford says businesses are demanding higher police presense in town.
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Cambridge Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tania Witheford says businesses are demanding higher police presense in town.

The government has promised more police staff for the Waikato but details of where those officers would go and when had not been decided. 

READ MORE: Community leaders call for return to 24/7 policing

Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest and Cambridge Community Board Mike Pettit want to make sure Cambridge secures more police staff.

Key concerns included having 24/7 policing back in Cambridge, poor response times and criminals coming into town at 11pm when the police night shift ends.

The chamber ran a snap survey of its members which showed over 97 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed there was a lack of police presence in Waipa, particularly Cambridge.

The survey showed most agreed it had led to businesses being worried about safety and security of their staff, given recent late-night criminal activity in the town.

Chamber members wanted safety of citizens acknowledged with the same importance as infrastructure.

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In the statement, chamber chief executive Tania Witheford said the lack of confidence in safety and security meant the business community felt its brand and reputation were at risk of being damaged. 

"... business loses confidence and costs increase, stifling sustainable growth.

"Cambridge is victim to an environment where central government is driving a programme of cost devolution, placing responsibility, both in cost and decision, to local government level for matters that are fundamental and paramount to our society's safety and security."

Cambridge was covered by the Te Awamutu police station during the night, as part of a hub system but the chamber suggested it showed the police force was under resourced.

Witheford said there needed to be more investment in technology and resources to fight crime.

"CCTV is an example of technology that will both deter and build capability in the area of prevention and resolution, which is currently a cost that local communities bear.

"It is far better to prevent and deter and have sound relationships with communities.

"For business and communities to grow, thrive and promote confidence, safety and security are fundamental. Investment and action is required now."

 

 - Stuff

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