Prevention initiative in city centre

18:57, Dec 18 2012

Invercargill police have set up base in a mobile booze bus in the lead-up to Christmas to deter crime in the city.

Police and volunteers are working from the mobile booze bus in Leven St to increase the police presence in the shopping hub area.

Sergeant Brock Davis said foot traffic in the CBD increased during the Christmas shopping period.

"We aim to increase police presence in the inner city to deter crime during this period and to build a safer community," he said.

The base, which has been put in place before Christmas for the past few years, complemented the Dee St community police office and bolstered the police presence in the inner city, he said.

It offered the public easy access to the police, he said.

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Neighbourhood policing team senior constable Max Baird said although the base was about deterring crime it was also available to help and inform the community.

"It's about prevention first and positive policing. It's not just about catching the bad guys. It's about the police being there for our community," he said.

Members of the community could use the bus as a place to report crime but also as a place to chat with police about problems and to get information, he said.

Sometimes children got lost in the hustle and bustle of shopping and the base would be a safe place to bring them, he said.

Volunteers from Invercargill who were part of the national organisation Community Patrols of New Zealand were helping the police staff the bus.

The group aims to raise the profile and encourage the development of local community patrols to work in their communities throughout New Zealand to assist the police.

Volunteer Faye West-Price said they patrolled the shops in the inner city, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.

"If we see anything in the stores we tell the security guards and if we see anything odd happening on the street, we inform the police," she said.

The Southland Times