Worried officers get security panels

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2013
Southland Times photo
JESSICA MADDOCK/Fairfax NZ

Sergeant Aaron Nicholson, Senior Sergeant Allan Grindell and Sergeant Paul Crosswell at the front counter of Wanaka’s new police station. Officers have begun working from the purpose-built station on Ballantyne Rd, which cost $3 million.

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As Wanaka's summertime population is set to explode during New Year celebrations, its police station security has been beefed up after staff raised safety concerns.

Wanaka's $3 million police station was officially opened in October.

However, a new police policy of "openness" and "shared spaces" with the public made some watch house staff uneasy about the style and security of the station's front counter.

A counter less than 75cm high, with no barrier above it, had been installed which meant it was possible to easily hurdle the bench and gain full access to the police station.

In the December issue of the New Zealand Police Association magazine Police News, a Wanaka police officer said he believed the lack of security at the front counter was a clear breach of health and safety standards, increasing risk of physical harm and workplace stress.

"While seated at my desk, I suspect I should wear an SRBA vest . . . I need to monitor hazards in my office area such as scissors and other potential stabbing instruments.

"I cannot see how the ‘openness' ideology has a positive cost-benefit analysis," he said.

Earlier this month large glass panels were installed at the Wanaka station to provide more security.

 

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