Police cut an 'insult': O'Connor
West Coast Tasman MP Damien O'Connor says a move to reduce the number of police officers in Wakefield from two to one risks the safety of residents between Wakefield and Murchison.
Mr O'Connor said this morning that Police Minister Anne Tolley had given him an "absolute assurance" on November 29 that Wakefield would retain its levels.
That reassurance had been completely destroyed, he said.
The move would also risk the safety of residents between Wakefield and Murchison because of longer response times.
He said the move made a mockery of "the platitudes and empty rhetoric for better resourcing for core government services" by the Government.
"This latest announcement is a fiddle, not a tweak, and one more cut to rural services by a National government obsessed with funding Auckland and Wellington transport projects, and selling off assets while squeezing provincial services. This is an insult to the provinces that generate the export dollars for our country."
Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Steve Greally has said the number of constables in Wakefield will reduce from two to one.
That proposal is currently out for consultation among police.
Police looked at reducing the number of officers in Wakefield as part of a major reshuffle of the Nelson Bays police area.
That proposal was later dropped and police said the two Wakefield officers did an important job and identified with their community.
Mr Greally said reducing the staffing in Wakefield was now necessary as a review of last year's restructure showed it needed some tweaking to make it work.
Under the proposal, police are considering one of the two Wakefield constables would move to Motueka to help that station provide 24-hour coverage.
Motueka went to 24-hour policing under the re-structure last year.
The number of general duty constables in Motueka would increase from eight to 10.
Wakefield would be covered at night by general duties staff based in Motueka and Nelson, who would be deployed by the sergeant in Nelson as needed.
Wakefield residents are also unhappy at the proposal. Wakefield vicar and community council chairman Allan Wasley said it was already hard to get hold of an officer and residents worried it would take longer to get officers to emergencies.
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