Police patrols double

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014
sam hawker, tim shearer
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

ON THE BEAT: Police officers Tim Shearer, left, and Sam Hawker patrol the main street of Timaru in a bid to combat crime.

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Timaru police are spending more than twice as much time walking the beat as they did in 2011, and it is a strategy they say is working.

In 2011 police officers spent 1545 hours walking the streets in a bid to combat crime and provide a stronger police presence within the community.

That figure increased to 2372 hours in 2012 and 3953 hours in 2013.

Senior Sergeant Randel Tikitiki said police predominantly patrol Timaru streets during the late evening and early mornings of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when bars are busy.

"It's certainly one of the more important times in terms of our strategies preventing crime."

Senior Constable Bill Phiskie dedicates much of his work to patrolling parts of Timaru during the daytime throughout the week, including Stafford St, Northtown Mall and sports grounds - often for up to two hours at a time.

"It's very successful," he said.

People often approach him to talk and he is now well known to many of the shops' owners, managers and staff.

Mr Tikitiki said a police presence in the community benefited both the public and officers.

"It makes [officers] approachable. People can see the police and wander up to them if they want to. It's pretty hard talking to them driving past in a police car at 50 kilometres an hour."

He said the aim was to deter crime and, although he did not have any statistics to hand, he believed it was working.

"Basically, the more cops you've got out there, the less chance you've got of crime.

"Instead of being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we are the fence at the top of the hill."

Nationally there has been a 155 per cent increase in foot patrols over the last two years, Police Minister Anne Tolley said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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