Personal touch key to crimebusting

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2013
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Deena Coster
Hawera senior sergeant Mike Hannah

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The new man in charge of South Taranaki police thinks the use of technology in day to day policing may be over-rated.

Senior Sergeant Mike Hannah, who started in his new role last week, said being able to communicate well with people was one of the most important parts of the job.

"One of my core beliefs in policing is actually talking to people," said Mr Hannah, 52, who is based at Hawera station.

He said the introduction of different types of technology was one of the main changes he had seen over the 30 years he had been in the job.

Police needed to be accessible to the public and wanted to see some improvement to the police phone system in order to make sure this happened, he said.

This was especially important for people living in rural communities as they often preferred one-on-one contact.

"They expect to deal with a person," he said.

As part of his role, the father of four manages 30 staff across the Hawera, Opunake, Manaia and Patea stations.

He said much of the crime his staff dealt with involved domestic violence, drink-driving and other alcohol-related offending.

"A lot of the problems that we had when I was last here haven't gone away."

Mr Hannah began his policing career in Palmerston North and spent two years there before moving to New Plymouth where he worked for about 15 years.

Since then he has been based at stations around South Taranaki, including a five-year stint in Opunake.

He said he enjoyed the variety of his job and the personal satisfaction it offered him.

"It sounds a bit cliche but it's about trying to make a difference in your town."

As Christmas approached, Mr Hannah said officers would be more visible out in their communities and he urged people to slow down and relax, especially when driving.

"We've all got our horror stories about things that go wrong around Christmas," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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