Community volunteers to work with police

A neighbourhood policing team in south Invercargill will be part of a new initiative to help keep older people safe.

Senior Citizens Minister Jo Goodhew yesterday announced the launch of an initiative, linking the Office for Senior Citizens volunteer community co-ordinators with neighbourhood policing teams throughout the country.

The first to be linked with one of the policing teams was working with police in Naenae, in Lower Hutt, but discussions were already underway with four more neighbourhood policing teams, she said.

A spokeswoman for Mrs Goodhew's office confirmed that one of those four teams would be the south Invercargill-based neighbourhood policing team.

The team's head, Sergeant Brock Davis, said because of Invercargill's smaller size, the team had already worked with community co-ordinators in the past.

It was always valuable to have regular dialogue and contact with various groups, he said.

"Community policing does involve working with all kinds of groups, not only government agencies and departments but community groups as well."

Discussions about formalising that link were still in the early stage, and he did not know when that would happen, he said.

In a statement, Ms Goodhew said volunteer community co-ordinators were a network of older people who worked with the Ministry of Social Development's Office for Senior Citizens.

By creating the link with the policing teams, the volunteer community co-ordinators could work with police on the best way to engage with older people and offer advice on appropriate responses, she said.

For instance, the teams could identify somebody who needed support on issues including elder abuse or neglect, and refer them to a service that could help best.

The Southland Times