Community watchers vital

ALEXIA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014
les o'donnell, graham dellow
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ

HELP NEEDED: Timaru Community Patrol members Les O'Donnell, left, and Graham Dellow are among those who volunteer their time to monitor the district's streets late at night.

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Volunteers are needed to fill a void in the Timaru Community Patrol service.

The service, which operates in partnership with the police, has 25 members. Up to 10 more are needed, president Gary Foster said.

"Another eight to 10 would give us more flexibility to keep doing what we're doing now, while looking at some other initiatives as well."

Members do one duty a month on average, monitoring the community from 10pm to 3am.

Their role is to act as the "eyes and ears" for the police. To do that, volunteers patrol the Timaru, Pareora, Temuka and Pleasant Point areas every Friday and Saturday evening.

Foster said it had been a challenge getting volunteers to support the cause, even after putting out a call earlier this month.

"To date we haven't had a big response."

He said the main reason for recruiting more volunteers was to maintain numbers, as some people had left for varying reasons.

"For me personally, I enjoy doing it because I find it's a useful way I can contribute to the community."

Foster has been with the service for nine years. For the past five years he has been the group's president.

Volunteers work in teams of three. Two monitor the streets in a vehicle while the other is based at the Timaru police station watchhouse. Those on patrol communicate with the person in the watchhouse by radio and cellphone.

Foster said the hours were practical and meant his involvement did not interfere with his day job.

"For people that have commitments elsewhere [outside those hours] - it's perhaps an option they might like to think about."

To find out more contact Gary Foster on 6880533.

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- The Timaru Herald

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