Community policing in force

RACHEL ASKEW
Last updated 14:13 27/03/2014
Southland Times photo
RACHEL ASKEW/Fairfax NZ
Senior Sergeant Alastair Dickie during his first day on the job as the new area response manager for Clutha-Taieri.

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The Clutha-Taieri's new top police officer has domestic violence along with alcohol and drug offences in his sights.

Alastair Dickie has nearly completed his first week in the role of Clutha-Taieri area response manager in which he oversees policing in the area.

A former inspector, with 36 years in the force, his new job meant a drop in rank to senior sergeant, a move that did not worry him, he said.

He wanted to be involved in ''community-type policing'' again and his role as inspector was too far removed from that, he said.

Mr Dickie will spend three days a week in Balclutha and two in Mosgiel and while he will be responsible for a large area that includes stations in Port Chalmers, Portobello and Waikouaiti, he also intends to pitch in on the front line.

''If a job comes up and they need a hand, I'm happy to get out there ... and try to get a handle on the pressure points in the district.''

However, he was anticipating a degree of frustration as the role did not allow him to be fully committed to one community.

''But I will give as much as I can to the Clutha and Taieri areas.''

Officers were working towards a more preventative policing approach and under his leadership the focus on stopping domestic violence as well as drug and alcohol offending would continue, he said.

He also intends to target the behaviour of drivers in the district.

''I saw a lot of carnage [on the roads] when I was here before, although it's improved to some degree which is partly down to the rescue helicopter.''

Mr Dickie is not new to Balclutha; he spent 19 years policing here earlier in his career.

Although in this role he will continue to live in East Taieri with his wife Raewyn and their 11-year-old daughter, he was still looking forward to ''rekindling old acquaintances'' in the district, he said.

Mr Dickie also has two sons, one a project manager in Australia and one a police officer in Balclutha.

''I'm fond of the people and the community spirit and working with the council, we've all got the same goal of trying provide a service to the community and it works better if we know each other.''

Mr Dickie is a former district councillor and a former member of the Balclutha fire brigade.

Provincial policing requires a different set of skills than policing in a city with officers often having to work alone, he said.

''You haven't got immediate support so you need to be independent and confident. I've had relievers from the city feel very insecure, it doesn't appeal to everybody.''

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Despite growing up in Dunedin, provincial policing obviously appeals to Mr Dickie.

The people in Clutha were ''generally very good to me and I've never forgotten it,'' he said.

''It's a warmer sort of environment, maybe not the weather but the people.''

 

- The Southland Times

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