Tasman police lead in key areas

Tasman police are topping the country in four of seven key performance areas.

In the second release of key performance indicators, the Tasman police district, which takes in Nelson Bays, the West Coast, Marlborough and Kaikoura, has shown up as the best performer for police presence in communities, ensuring the public feel safe, instilling greater trust in the police and speedy crime resolution.

Tasman district commander Superintendent Richard Chambers said the result reflected the huge amount of hard work carried out by staff, and support from the community.

The indicators were compiled using information from police activity logs and revealed police performance around the country for the year to December 2013.

Improvement was still needed in reducing harm caused by serious road crashes, where Tasman was among six regions to have recorded an increase in injury-causing accidents, and in improving timeframes in which crime was resolved.

Tasman and Northland share an 89 per cent score in that area, which is the highest in the country, but still below the national target of 90 per cent resolution within 30 days of an offence being recorded.

Chambers said there was still too much trauma on the region's roads. The key indicators showed only three regions scored worse than Tasman's 9 per cent increase in crash-related hospitalisations since last year's inaugural KPI figures release. The southern region showed the best performance with a 15 per cent reduction in this area, and Northland was worst with a 28 per cent increase.

"Accidents will still happen, no matter how much we do, but we'd like to see an improvement. The Tasman district is a lovely place to drive through. We have a lot of motorcyclists and tourists here and there are lot on our roads unfamiliar with them, but here are a disproportionate number of motorcyclists killed."

He said Tasman's performance across the board "did not happen by accident". He said it came down to dedication of police staff across the district and support from the communities which allowed police to do their job.

"Trust and confidence in the police is crucial if we are going to be effective. If the community supports the work we do, the job becomes easier. If we are battling the community we won't get the results the community deserves."

Chambers said help came in the form of people forwarding information. "People like to show an interest in the place in which they live and work. They want to live in a safe place, and want to feel safe so when things happen they help us get results."

Police visibility was higher in the Tasman police district than anywhere in the country.

"Over the last couple of years and looking ahead we have focused New Zealand police strategy on prevention. One way we've done that is be more visible in the community, particularly in places deemed to be higher risk."

Chambers said those were areas where crime had occurred and from analysis of intelligence data.

"There are communities which require more visibility than others. Bridge St for example - a lot of effort has gone into that area because of the problems that were there and the number of victims that resulted."

Chambers said he expected that figures for the time taken to resolve crime to improve. He said it had little to do with staffing levels.

"Some of our investigations require a considerable amount of work in order to get a result.

"I encourage my staff to work on the basis that the sooner crime is resolved the better, but I also want it to be thorough."

He said it was vital that police were seen to be credited for the work they did. "Behind the uniforms they are people too and the work they do is tough. I see how hard our police work. I know a lot of what we do takes its toll on them and their families."